July 26, 2006

US asks North Korea to attend nuclear talks: report

SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States has formally requested
North Korea to attend six-country talks on ending its nuclear
program at a regional security meeting in Kuala Lumpur, South
Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.

The United States made the request earlier this week
through the North Korean mission to the United Nations in New
York, Yonhap cited diplomatic sources as saying.

Talks on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs
among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United
States have stalled since the last round was held in November.

The foreign ministers of all six countries in the nuclear
talks are expected to attend a security meeting with the
Association of South East Asian Nations being held in the
Malaysian capital.

There was no sign North Korea would agree to meet the
others in Kuala Lumpur, said the top U.S. envoy to the nuclear
talks, Christopher Hill.

The North has stayed away from the nuclear talks due to a
U.S. crackdown on firms it suspects of aiding Pyongyang in
illicit activities such as counterfeiting. Pyongyang has said
it would be unthinkable for it to return while the United
States is trying to topple its leaders through financial