View Full Version : North Korea Invites Rice To Pyongyang, US Denies Invite

05-17-2005, 08:47 AM
North Korea Invites Rice to Pyongyang


By Anadolu News Agency (aa)
Published: Tuesday 17, 2005

To find solutions to the crisis over the suspension of six-party nuclear talks, North Korea has reportedly suggested conducting top-level negotiations with the participation of US Secretary of State Condollezza Rice.

According to Japanese newspaper, Nihon Keizai, an article based on a source that joined the US-North Korea talks, reported the offer to rid the discrepancies among the parties made by Kim Jong Il Administration was conveyed through the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

On the other hand, a US official who wishes to remain anonymous has said "there is no such offer."

The Washington administration had previously turned down similar offers by North Korea and had announced the best way for the Pyong Yang administration is to participate in multi-party talks.

South Korea announced that if North re-joins the negotiations, a new offer will be made.

US Denies Rice Invited to Pyongyang


By Reuben Staines
Staff Reporter

Washington denied Tuesday a news report that North Korea has invited U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Pyongyang for discussions on the deepening dispute over its nuclear weapons programs.

No invitation has been received for Rice to visit the reclusive communist country for bilateral talks, an unidentified official at the State Department in Washington said.

The official was responding to a report by a Japanese business daily that North Korea has asked China to arrange a visit by the U.S. state secretary.

``Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing conveyed the North's request to Rice when the two spoke over the phone last Friday,'' the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, quoting diplomatic sources.

The newspaper said Pyongyang is unwilling to resume six-nation talks on the nuclear issue and wants direct negotiations with Washington. North Korea has boycotted the six-way talks for the past 11 months.

Broadcaster Tokyo TV later reported that the U.S. could send a diplomatic mission to Pyongyang soon to prepare for Rice's trip.

China, however, also rebuffed the Japanese media's claims as a fabrication. ``The report is full of imagination but groundless in terms of fact,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said.

South Korean and Japanese officials said they are not aware of any invitation for Rice to visit the North.

The U.S. has ruled out holding direct talks with North Korea outside the six-party framework, saying that North Korea's nuclear weapons programs are an international concern, not a bilateral issue. North Korea also said earlier this month it is not seeking bilateral discussions.

Rice, meanwhile, on Monday reiterated her warning against North Korea taking further provocative actions in the nuclear standoff.

Any moves to escalate the crisis will not be ``cost-free,'' she told reporters after an unscheduled visit to U.S. troops in Iraq.

Last week, Pyongyang ratcheted up nuclear tensions by declaring it had completed removing 8,000 spent fuel rods from its Yongbyon reactor. The move will allow it to reprocess enough weapons-grade plutonium to produce two or three bombs, experts estimate.

Senior U.S. officials have also raised concerns over satellite photos indicating preparations for an underground nuclear test by the North.

Rice repeated that taking punitive measures, including sending the nuclear issue to the U.N. Security Council, is an option. But she added that the stalled six-party talks are not ``yet at a place to declare that it's time to move on to something else.''

Another report by Japan's Kyodo News Agency said North Korea has proposed discussing ``non-proliferation'' rather than ``disarmament'' at the six-nation talks.

Pyongyang suggested the reframing of the dialogue process to China in April, arguing that it is now a nuclear power and countries participating in the talks should negotiate on an equal footing, the report said.