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U.S., Russia reject N Korea demand

Pyongyang: Ending weapons program tied to civilian power



•North Korea to give up nuclear weapons and nuclear programs, return at an early date to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and submit to International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

•U.S. declares it has no nuclear arms on the Korean peninsula, no intention to attack or invade North Korea.

•South Korea reaffirms it won't deploy nuclear weapons, affirms it has none on its territory.

•China, Russia, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan agree to discuss "at an appropriate time" giving North a light-water nuclear reactor.

•North Korea, U.S. pledge to respect each other's sovereignty, coexist peacefully, work to normalize relations.

•North Korea, Japan agree to work to normalize ties.

•China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and the U.S. to give North Korea energy assistance.

Source: The Associated Press


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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Russian counterpart have rejected a North Korean statement that Pyongyang would begin dismantling its nuclear program only if the United States provided a light-water reactor for civilian power.

Pyongyang's official news agency earlier in the day printed the demand from a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry -- comments that threatened to unravel an agreement reached in Beijing on Monday among North Korea, its neighbors and the United States.

"We will stick to the text of the Beijing statement and I believe that we can make progress if everybody sticks to what was actually agreed to," Rice told reporters at the United Nations Tuesday.

"The text of the agreement says that we'll discuss a light-water reactor at an appropriate time. There were several statements afterwards that make clear what that sequence is."

She said those steps included: North Korea abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, returning to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and abiding by International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

Only then could the issue of light-water reactors be discussed, Rice said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose country took part in the six-party talks that led to the agreement, said, "The text was very carefully agreed upon and it was the subject of very difficult compromises, but it clearly sets forth the consistency of the steps which have to be taken so that we might talk about cooperation in the development of nuclear energy in North Korea."

He added, "The most important thing now is to see to it that this agreement be carried out in practice, and this involves a great deal of work ahead and we hope that it will begin soon."

Rice met with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Tuesday in New York. According to U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, "Both agreed that the agreement signed in Beijing by the six parties was the binding text for parties, including on the question of light-water reactors."

In the North Korean news agency report, a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying, "Without this physical guarantee of the (light-water reactor), our position is not to even dream of us giving up our nuclear deterrence."

"It has yet to be seen how the U.S. will realize its promise, but if the U.S. continues to demand the giving up of our nuclear weapons prior to providing the (reactor), then nothing changes between the nuclear relationship between the U.S. and North Korea."

In Tokyo, the Kyodo news agency quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura as saying North Korea's latest demand was unacceptable, The Associated Press reported.

But South Korea's reaction was more muted, with a key minister saying the demand was to be expected and that it would not jeopardize Monday's deal.

South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young said on a radio program the North's response to the agreement could be handled in diplomatic talks before a further round of negotiations, Reuters reports.

Those comments came a day after North Korea agreed to give up its entire nuclear program, including weapons -- a landmark agreement that was announced in a joint statement from six-party nuclear arms talks in Beijing.

The joint statement said North Korea had "committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs" and had agreed to return to the NPT and to abide by safeguards established by the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog.

The statement also said that North Korea stated that it has the right to "peaceful uses of nuclear energy." (Full statement)

The agreement came on what was the seventh day of the fourth round of six-party talks. A fifth round of talks has been scheduled for November.

As part of the agreement, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea "stated their willingness" to provide energy assistance to North Korea, as well as to promote economic cooperation.

The World Food Program has said that North Korea is headed toward the worst humanitarian food crisis since the mid 1990s, when an estimated 1 million North Koreans died. It said 6.5 million North Koreans desperately need food aid. (U.N. to end food aid to N. Korea)

North Korea ordered U.N. nuclear inspectors out of the country nearly three years ago, and it has since said it has a nuclear weapon and continues to pursue producing more.

The United States, along with the four other nations involved in the talks, has said the Korean peninsula must not have nuclear weapons.

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