North Korea proposed five-step plan to disarm at latest arms talks

North Korea proposed a five-step plan to abandon its nuclear weapons programs at the latest round of disarmament talks that ended inconclusively last week, a South Korean Cabinet official responsible for ties with the communist nation said Monday.

Under the plan, North Korea said it would first halt plans for any nuclear tests, and agree not to transfer any nuclear technology or materials to other nations, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young told journalists in Seoul.

The North would agree to not produce more weapons, then suspend and later dismantle its nuclear program, subject to verification, Chung said.

Finally, the North would rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and safeguards under the International Atomic Energy Agency, Chung said.

Chung praised the last round of disarmament talks in Beijing as "meaningful in that North Korea presented its roadmap on nuclear dismantlement."

"Some people have raised fundamental questions if North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear program," he said. "But in this round of talks, we have confirmed there is no disagreement among the six parties that the Korean Peninsula should be free of nuclear weapons, and North Korea also confirmed this."

Despite the proposal, North Korea has stuck by its insistence in the talks that it won't make any move until Washington first offers concessions to the North for giving up its nuclear weapons.

"As we have to follow the `action for action' principle, we will act if action is made," the North's envoy to the six-nation disarmament talks, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, told The Associated Press on Saturday before leaving Beijing. "We will never move first.", AP reported. V.A.

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