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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Date set for North Korea talks

Yongbyon plant, North Korea
N Korea has admitted to stockpiling atomic weapons
A date has been announced for the resumption of international talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, after more than a year of stagnation.

The six countries involved - the two Koreas, China, the US, Japan and Russia - will meet in Beijing on 26 July.

North Korea pulled out of negotiations in February 2005, and has since admitted to stockpiling atomic weapons.

It finally agreed to return to talks earlier this month, after heavy international lobbying.

On 9 July, Pyongyang signalled its agreement to return to talks in the last week of July, but now an exact date has been given, according to officials in China and South Korea.

Three rounds of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear capability were held in 2003 and 2004, but they were broken off amid North Korean complaints about "hostile" US policy.

The US wants North Korea to dismantle its nuclear reactors and stop producing atomic weapons.

It has indicated that North Korea could face sanctions if it fails to resolve the nuclear crisis.

But the US has stressed that it does not intend to attack the North.

South Korea has also recently provided an incentive for North Korea to end its nuclear ambitions.

Earlier this month, it offered its energy-starved northern neighbour huge amounts of free electricity.

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