North Korea urges U.S. to remove its nuclear threat

North Korea once again declared it would not need nuclear weapons if the U.S. didn’t threaten it, as Pyongyang prepared to rejoin international disarmament talks it has shunned for more than a year and the two Koreas agreed to boost economic links.

"If the U.S. nuclear threat to (North Korea) is removed and its hostile policy to 'bring down the system' of the latter is withdrawn, not a single nuclear weapon will be needed," the North's main state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, wrote, according to the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea agreed Saturday to return to six-nation nuclear talks the week of July 25 after refusing for more than a year, citing "hostile" U.S. policies.

The breakthrough came after a Beijing meeting between the top U.S. and North Korean envoys to the six-nation talks, also involving South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.

Seoul has said it has prepared a significant aid proposal for the North if it returns to the arms negotiations last held in June 2004, but no details have been released.

Last month North Korea said the it wouldn't need nuclear weapons if the United States treated it like a friend. The conciliatory gesture, after a year of deadlock in six-country talks on the North's nuclear programs, have raised hope for a breakthrough, but Washington has played it down, saying Pyongyang was simply trying to buy time. Instead of "friendship" U.S. administration decided to provide 50,000 metric tons of food to North Korea in a humanitarian decision that the White House said was unrelated to stalemated efforts to get Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program.

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