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Nuke talks reach agreements

Nuke talks reach agreements

BEIJING _ North Korea agreed on Monday to give up all of its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and pledged to return to arms treaties in a historic agreement at the six-party talks, ending the three-year nuclear deadlock.

In return, Pyongyang accomplished its purpose by persuading the other participants, especially the United States, into stipulating North Korea's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the agreement.

The other parties expressed their respect for Pyongyang's stance on the civilian nuclear programs and agreed to discuss the subject of providing a light-water reactor to North Korea at an appropriate time, the joint statement said.

To compensate North Korea's scrapping of its nuclear programs, five other participants stated their willingness to provide energy assistance to Pyongyang, including South Korea's proposal of July 12 to provide 2 million kilowatts of electric power to its northern neighbor, the statement said.

The next round of the talks is set to be held in Beijing in early November, when the participants are expected to discuss how to execute the agreement. The schedule of the fifth round of the talks will be determined through consultations, the statement said.

The three-page statement on the principles of how to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula has significant meaning as it successfully framed the guidance to the permanent peace in Northeast Asia.

North Korea and the U.S. undertook to respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies, the statement said.

In addition, the directly related parties will negotiate a “permanent peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum, the statement said.

“The joint statement is the most important achievement in the two years since the start of six-party talks,” Chinese chief negotiator Wu Dawei said.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun welcomed the joint statement as "epoch-making."

President Roh expressed appreciation especially for the efforts of host China that helped bring about the breakthrough in the two-year-old nuclear dispute, presidential office officials said.

"The adoption of the joint statement in the fourth round of the six-party talks heralded a crucial opportunity to resolve the North's nuclear issue," presidential spokesman Kim Man-soo said in a statement.

Kim said the presidential office expects the joint statement to provide momentum in stabilizing the Korean Peninsula.

Unification Minister Chung Dong-young also praised the agreement as "the accomplishment of South Korean diplomacy," adding that the agreement opened the "broad" road to break the Cold War animosity.

"Peace talks on the Korean Peninsula will be attempted at an appropriate time," Chung said in a news briefing in Seoul.

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