July 23, 2008

North Korea Wants All Sanctions Lifted

The United States should drop its hostile policy by lifting all its sanctions against North Korea, a Pyongyang official said Wednesday in Singapore.

In the island state for a meeting of the foreign ministers of the six nations involved in North Korea's denuclearization, Ri Dong-il, speaking for the North Korean foreign minister, said his country last month submitted a long-due declaration of its nuclear programs in a sincere effort, Yonhap news agency reported.

In return, he said the United States only lifted part of its sanctions. Urging more needs to be done, Ri said, An important thing in the next stage is for the United States to lift punitive measures and hostile policies completely and fundamentally, the report said.

The meeting of the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, China, Japan and the two Koreas in Singapore to discuss the nuclear issue on the sidelines of the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum was proposed by China.

It is first time the top diplomats from the six nations are meeting since the six-party talks began in 2003, the report said.

The talks itself resumed this month in Beijing after an absence of nine months after North Korea submitted its declaration.

At the Beijing talks, the negotiators agreed to set up a workable system to verify the North's declaration. Pyongyang also agreed to disable its main plutonium-producing facilities by October and allow on-site inspection.