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U-S Envoy Offers Talks to North Korea - 2003-01-13


The official Communist Party newspaper in Pyongyang (Rodong Sinmun) Monday warned that North Korea would strike back with force if the United States launched a military strike. Official radio accused Washington of using the North Korean nuclear issue as an excuse to invade.

In Seoul, U-S Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly said North Korea can help itself by giving up its nuclear ambitions. He said the United States might be willing to address North Korea's acute fuel shortages if Pyongyang will agree to re-admit international inspectors and comply with previous nuclear safeguards agreements.

Mr. Kelly spoke to reporters after talks with South Korea's president-elect Roh Moo-Hyun. The president-elect also met with Japanese envoy and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.

In Moscow, North Korea's ambassador (Pak Ui Chun) said his government could reverse its decision to withdraw from the nuclear safeguards treaty. But he said that would only happen if the United States drops its threatening attitude toward the North.

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