Source Pravda.Ru

North Korea moves toward nuclear weapon talks

North Korea moved "a step" closer to returning to talks on dismantling its nuclear weapons after representatives from the country met U.S. officials in New York yesterday, Japanese government spokesman, &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2005/05/10/59658.html ' target=_blank>Hiroyuki Hosoda said.

The meeting in New York was the second in less than a month after officials from the North Korea and the U.S. met for the first time in six months on May 13. Japan wants the United Nations' Security Council to take up the nuclear weapons issue unless North Korea agrees to return soon to talks that ended a year ago without agreement, informs the Bloomberg.

"The contact with the U.S. takes things forward a step," Hosoda, Japan's chief Cabinet secretary, said at a regular press briefing in Tokyo today.

The disarmament talks stalled almost a year ago. Since then, North Korea has declared it has atomic bombs, claiming they were a deterrent against a possible attack by the U.S.

The United States met Monday with North Korea on halting its nuclear weapons program, and Washington withdrew a threat to try to punish the North Koreans soon with &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/30/27260.html ' target=_blank>U.N. sanctions. The meeting was requested by North Korea, a U.S. official said.

"Judging from their amount of recent contacts, it is progress, and we hope it would lead to a resumption of the six-way talks," said Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda.