DPRK suggests different disarmament talks

Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday suggested a different "form of dialogue" on dismantling its nuclear weapons programmes, reiterating it would not return to the existing six-party talks, state media said.

The statement from the DPRK's foreign ministry came after Pyongyang's UN envoy, Sin Son-Ho, said last week that it was not opposed to negotiations with the United States, but would no longer participate in the multilateral forum.

"Any attempt to side with those who claim the resumption of the six-party talks without grasping the essence of the matter will not help ease tension," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by state media.

"There is a specific and reserved form of dialogue that can address the current situation."

The spokesman did not elaborate on what form such a dialogue could take.

"What Pyongyang calls for is a direct US-DPRK dialogue," Kim Yong-Hyun, a DPRK expert and professor at Seoul's Dongguk University, told AFP.

The North quit the six-party talks after the UN Security Council censured it for a long-range rocket launch in April. In May it also staged its second nuclear test.

The Council has since imposed tougher sanctions, including an expanded arms embargo and beefed up inspections of air, sea and land shipments going to and from DPRK .

A travel ban has also been imposed on Pyongyang officials suspected of being involved in the country's nuclear and missile programmes.

The United States has urged the international community to continue to pressure DPRK  to return to the six-party talks -- which include the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that even DPRK 's traditional allies, China and Myanmar, had turned against it by supporting international efforts to end Pyongyang's nuclear drive.

"They don't have any friends left," Clinton told NBC television after a tour of Asia.

Clinton insisted North Korea had no option but to return to six-party negotiations and she told the regime it should not hope to extract concessions from Washington by being belligerent.

"We want to make clear to DPRK  that their behaviour is not going to be rewarded," she said. "Those days are over."

The North countered Monday that its six-party partners had failed in "the respect for sovereignty and equality among the parties, the lifeblood of the talks," by supporting UN sanctions.

"The six-party talks departed from their original goal and nature so far due to the unchanged moves of the hostile forces to stifle (DPRK) that they can hardly regain them," the statement said.

DPRK 's defence minister Kim Yong-Chun Sunday promised to retaliate against the UN sanctions, saying: "We will mercilessly and resolutely counter the enemy's 'sanctions' with retaliation, its 'all-out war' with all-out war."

Source: AFP

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