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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
N Korea urged to make first move
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il
Pyongyang reportedly gave the US a list of demands

Seoul has urged North Korea to make the first move in its stand-off with the United States.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan said that Pyongyang could not expect the security guarantee and economic aid it wants from the US unless it gives up its nuclear weapons programme first.

"North Korea's policy makers should think whether it is acceptable to ask for compensation for violating international rules, especially after changes in the international situation following the September 11 terrorist attacks," Mr Yoon said.

NUCLEAR STAND-OFF
Oct 2002 - US says N Korea "admits" secret nuclear programme
Nov 2002 - US-led decision to halt oil shipments to N Korea
Dec 2002 - N Korea expels two nuclear watchdog's inspectors
Jan 2003 - N Korea says it is withdrawing from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Feb 2003 - N Korea "restarts" Yongbyon nuclear plant
Apr 2003 - N Korean and US officials meet for three-way talks in China

According to US officials, North Korea offered to give up its nuclear programme in exchange for substantial economic and diplomatic concessions during talks between the two sides in Beijing in April.

Washington has said it is reviewing the offer.

Mr Yoon noted that Pyongyang needed to "give a boon to those in the United States who support dialogue (to resolve the crisis)".

The administration in Washington is reportedly split on how to deal with North Korea.

Compromise

The Washington Times reported that the US was in the process of reviewing its policy on the hermit state ahead of a visit by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun next week.

The approach would be refined, at a meeting of President George W Bush's top foreign policy advisors on Wednesday, to accommodate both doves and hawks, the paper said.

Resolving the issue was given added urgency by reports from US officials on Tuesday that intelligence analysts have seen increasing signs that North Korea has begun reprocessing spent fuel rods - a move that would dramatically speed up its nuclear weapons programme.

The crisis in North Korea began last October, when Washington accused Pyongyang of having a secret nuclear arms programme.

The three-way talks in Beijing were the first high-level US-North Korean contact since the crisis erupted.




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