Kerry stresses denuclearization of N. Korea as starter for talks

Oct. 4, 2013 at 12:21 AM   |   Comments

TOKYO, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The United States is ready for negotiations with North Korea provided the Communist country first agrees to denuclearize, Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Addressing a joint news conference in Tokyo at the start of his Asian tour, Kerry discussed the six-nation talks on North Korea's denuclearization. Joining Kerry at the news conference were U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

The six-nation talks among North and South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States have remained stalled since 2009 after the North withdrew. Since then the North has come under tough U.N. Security Council sanctions for continuing with its nuclear and other tests in violation of U.N. resolutions.

Kerry said North Korea has "behaved outside of any standards of rule of law and any of the norms of international behavior," said a transcript of the news conference on the U.S. State Department website.

"And North Korea needs to understand that the United States of America is prepared to engage in negotiations, providing North Korea makes it clear that those negotiations begin with the issue of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula."

Kerry said the six-party talks have made it "crystal clear we are prepared to reengage in those talks, we are prepared to have a peaceful relationship with North Korea, we are not engaged in regime change, we are prepared to sign a non-aggression agreement – providing North Korea decides to denuclearize and to engage in legitimate negotiations to achieve that end."

However, the Secretary said the United States has said several times it will not get into a repeat of past negotiations "which go around in a circle, where there's some concession, some agreement, and then the agreement is broken, and the nuclear program continues and gets even further down the road."

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