(AFP) – Jul 14, 2012
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — North Korea told Cambodia Saturday it was ready to rejoin six-party denuclearisation talks, Phnom Penh said, without outlining any conditions to a potential return to the negotiating table.
North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun met with his Cambodian counterpart in Phnom Penh and "clearly stated that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is ready to participate in the six-party talks", Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told reporters.
"Cambodia welcomes the positive step," he said, adding that Pak "did not talk about conditions during the meeting".
Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula after the North's failed rocket launch in April, seen by the United States and its allies as an attempted ballistic missile test.
Six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, the US, Russia and Japan have been stalled since December 2008.
The North has repeatedly expressed a willingness to return to the forum on its nuclear disarmament but without prior conditions.
Washington and South Korea say before a resumption of discussions, the North must first show it is serious about the process, notably by shutting down a uranium enrichment programme which could be reconfigured to make bombs.
The North has been developing nuclear weapons for decades.
The United States reached a deal on February 29 this year to offer North Korea badly needed food aid in return for a freeze on nuclear and missile tests, but it rescinded the plan after the rocket launch.
Under a September 2005 deal reached during six-nation negotiations, Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its nuclear programmes in return for economic and diplomatic benefits and security guarantees. The North has staged two nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009.
The meeting between the Cambodian and North Korean foreign ministers, whose countries have close ties, came after an Asian security gathering in Phnom Penh during which North Korea said it needs atomic weaponry to deter a US nuclear threat.
It also vowed never to give up its right to launch rockets as part of what it called a peaceful space programme.
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