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(LEAD) Delegates from NK, U.S. agree to solve problems via dialogue

All Headlines 23:40 March 30, 2011

(ATTN: ADDS more details in 6th para)

BERLIN, March 30 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean high-ranking diplomat said Wednesday that delegates from North Korea and the United States have reached an agreement to solve their ongoing problems through dialogue and negotiations in an unofficial meeting held here.

"Both sides have agreed that concerns (over North Korea's nuclear issue) should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, not confrontation," said Ri Gun, director general of the North American affairs bureau of North Korea's foreign ministry.

"(Delegates from the two countries) have seriously discussed each other's opinions and have shared various views."

His remarks came as he prepared to depart Berlin's Tegel Airport, ending his a week-long trip to Berlin to attend a seminar hosted by the Aspen Institute, a U.S. think tank, to exchange opinions with some former U.S. officials on reopening the six-party talks.

A North Korean delegation led by Ri arrived in Germany Thursday.

During the seminar hosted by the Aspen Institute between Monday and Tuesday, the two sides have discussed issues including the normalization of the U.S.-North Korea ties and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to an Aspen Institute official.

North Korea has long sought direct talks with the U.S. over its nuclear programs, but the U.S. has sided with South Korea in demanding a clear demonstration of the North's denuclearization commitment before any form of dialogue can resume.

The six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S., have been stalled since their last session in late 2008 due to the North's missile and nuclear tests the following year.


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