Sunday, June 19, 2005

Kim Jong-il Says NK Willing to Rejoin 6-Party Talks in July

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said on Friday his country is willing to rejoin the six-party talks in July, if the U.S. ``recognizes and respects’’ his regime, a South Korean envoy said after talks with Kim in Pyongyang. Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who returned home after a four-day trip to the North, also quoted Kim as saying the 1991 South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula remains valid and his country has never given up on the nuclear talks. ``Kim said the six-party nuclear talks could be held as early as July if the United States recognizes and respects North Korea. Kim, however, said that further consultations would first be needed with the U.S.,’’ Chung told reporters at a press conference in Seoul. The top North Korean leader also gave a positive response to calls for inter-Korean relations, such as cross-border talks between general-level officers and temporary reunions of family members separated as a result of the 1950-53 Korean War, Chung said.

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