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China, Russia, Japan welcome nuclear deal on N. Korea

All Headlines 15:48 March 01, 2012

BEIJING/MOSCOW/TOKYO, March 1 (Yonhap) -- China, Russia and Japan, all members of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programs, welcomed the latest nuclear deal between Washington and Pyongyang and called for its implementation.

The agreement, reached in last week's high-level talks and announced Wednesday, commits North Korea to temporarily halt its uranium enrichment program, accept U.N. inspectors and put a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests in exchange for food aid from the United States.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement posted on the ministry's Web site that Beijing welcomes the United States and North Korea improving their relations so as to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

The spokesman praised Washington and Pyongyang for taking active steps to carry out a 2005 framework agreement in which the North pledged to give up all its nuclear programs in return for economic aid and diplomatic recognition from Washington.

Russia also welcomed the latest deal, with Konstantin Kosachev, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, telling the RIA Novosti news agency it offers a chance for North Korea to break out of international isolation.

Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba called the deal an important step toward resolving many pending issues involving North Korea and said he expects it will lay the groundwork for halting all nuclear-related facilities in the North.

"What is important is for North Korea to take specific action toward denuclearization," he said, adding that Tokyo will continue to cooperate closely with South Korea and the U.S., according to local media reports.

The six-party talks, which bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S., have been dormant since the last session in late 2008, amid political and military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

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