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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 November, 2004, 10:32 GMT
Post-election push on N Korea
North Korean spent nuclear fuel rods in Yongbyon
Experts believe N Korea has enough plutonium to make atomic bombs
South Korea says it has agreed with the US to seek an early resumption of talks on North Korea's nuclear programme.

President Roh Moo-hyun suggested the move in a telephone call congratulating George W Bush on his re-election.

"President Bush gave an affirmative response," Mr Roh's spokesman said. The two leaders agreed to discuss the stalled process later this month.

There have been three rounds of six-party talks so far, but Pyongyang refused to attend one in September.

The communist state had postponed any talks until after the US presidential election.

Top priority

"The two presidents agreed to step up joint efforts to ensure that six-party talks may take place at the earliest possible date," the President Roh's spokesman Kim Jong-min said.

"President Roh proposed that the two countries give top priority to resolving the North Korean nuclear issue so as to provide a decisive momentum to bring about peace on the Korean peninsula," he said.

Mr Roh and Mr Bush are expected to discuss the issue on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum in Santiago, Chile, later this month.

Experts believe North Korea has already extracted enough plutonium for six or seven atomic bombs, although this is difficult to verify as Pyongyang will not submit to inspections from the UN's nuclear agency.

The six-party talks involve China, the US, North and South Korea, Japan and Russia.


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