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N. Korea must prove sincerity before any denuclearization talks: diplomat

All Headlines 19:01 July 26, 2016

SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea must first prove it is sincere about denuclearization if the country wants to resume talks with South Korea and other neighbors, Seoul's point man on the long-stalled six-nation talks on denuclearizing the communist country said Tuesday.

"If North Korea wants a serious dialogue, it should demonstrate its commitment to sincerely carrying out denuclearization," said Kim Hong-kyun, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, who is also the top negotiator representing in the six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

Kim made the remark while giving a keynote speech at a meeting of international security experts in Seoul.

The once-promising denuclearization forum has been stalled for nearly eight years, with South Korea and the U.S. insisting that North Korea should completely commit itself to getting rid of its nukes before the disarmament-for-reward dialogue can resume.

"North Korea should change its strategic calculations so it can return to the denuclearization dialogue," the diplomat stressed.

The remarks come as South Korea is stepping up its diplomatic efforts to prod North Korea to give up its United Nations Security Council-banned nuclear weapons program in the on-going meetings of Southeast Asian countries in Laos.

North Korea's nuclear weapons development goes against the international trend, Kim pointed out, citing Myanmar's recent political and economic changes as one example. "North Korea is the only nuke-testing country in the 21st century and it's irresponsible to dismiss their threats of pre-emptive nuclear attacks as mere bluffs," Kim noted.

North Korea's nuclear ambition is the biggest security threat in the region and "if North Korea's nuclear ambitions are not stopped, (the region) will have to cope with a nuclear-armed North Korea," according to the ambassador.

Kim also called on the international community to demonstrate its determination to denuclearize North Korea, saying "the environment should be created in a way that there are no other options than Pyongyang's abandonment of its nuclear program."

pbr@yna.co.kr
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