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US urges NKorea to move toward dismantling nuclear weapons

US urges NKorea to move toward dismantling nuclear weapons

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea urged North Korea Wednesday to take concrete steps toward denuclearization.
The United States is willing to normalize relations with North Korea and provide economic and energy assistance in return for the dismantlement of its nuclear weapons program, U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow said, reiterating a year-old offer.
"For all of these to happen, however, North Korea must live up to its side of the bargain," Vershbow said in a meeting with South Korean lawmakers.
Vershbow, however, did not say whether the U.S. would lift financial restrictions imposed on the communist regime for alleged money laundering and counterfeiting. The North has refused to talk about its nuclear program until the U.S. removes the restrictions.
Washington says the financial restrictions against a Macau-based bank holding North Korean accounts are a matter of law enforcement, not related to the nuclear talks.
The office of Choi Sung, a legislator of the ruling Uri Party, who organized the meeting, said the U.S. envoy said the North should try to resolve the nuclear dispute before U.S. President George W. Bush's term expires at the end of 2008.
Pyongyang pledged to dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees and aid last year, but no progress has since been made.
Negotiators at six-nation nuclear disarmament talks held in Beijing last week after a 13-month North Korean boycott over the U.S. sanctions, ended without a breakthrough.
The North has insisted it needs nuclear weapons as a "deterrent" against a possible U.S. attack.


Updated : 2021-04-23 15:26 GMT+08:00