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Rice Disputes Reported North Korean Pledge Against More Nuclear Tests

  • VOA News

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has disputed media reports that say North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has pledged not to carry out further nuclear tests.

Asian media have reported the North Korean leader told Chinese officials about the pledge, and that he apologized for the October ninth nuclear test.

But Rice says she met Chinese officials in Beijing on Friday, and that there was no mention of Kim Jong Il's purported statements.Rice made the comment on her way to Moscow, where she met President Vladimir Putin and other top officials on Saturday.

A Russian presidential spokesman Alexei Gromov said Rice briefed Mr. Putin on her recent trip to China, South Korea and Japan. The Asian tour was intended to rally support for sanctions against the North because of its weapons test.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the United States and North Korea to show "flexibility" to resolve their differences. In an interview (with the Kuwaiti news agency), Lavrov said the two nations need to resolve their financial problems to help renew stalled six-party talks on the nuclear issue.

In Beijing, Rice and her Chinese counterpart Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing called on North Korea to return to the stalled talks. Pyongyang walked out of the multi-party negotiations more than a year ago.

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