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North Korea Agrees to Return to Stalled Nuclear Talks


Governments around the world are cautiously welcoming news that North Korea has agreed to return to talks on its nuclear program.

President Bush says he is very pleased with the development but says he will also take steps to ensure current sanctions against North Korea are enforced.

Japan also welcomed the move, but voiced some skepticism, saying it won't "accept North Korea's return to the talks on the premise that it possess nuclear weapons".

South Korea and Russia were more positive, both hailing the unexpected breakthrough.

The announcement was made Tuesday in Beijing, where envoys from North Korea, China and the United States had been holding unpublicized talks.

Pyongyang has been under intense pressure to return to the disarmament negotiations since it conducted an underground nuclear test October ninth.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the talks to reconvene soon, saying he hopes they will lead to a decrease of tensions in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a television interview with CNBC Tuesday the talks would not take place until after an Asian economic conference in Hanoi in mid-November. But she said she hoped they would take place soon after that.

The six-party talks include North and South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia.

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