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S.Korea, U.S. discuss Korean peace regime

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SEOUL, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The United States and South Korea discussed a proposal for a treaty with North Korea to secure peace on the Korean peninsula, a Seoul daily said Tuesday.

Kathleen Stephens, U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, made a low-key visit to Seoul on Jan. 26-28 to discuss the establishment of a peace regime on the peninsula, according to the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper

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They discussed "follow-up measures to U.S. President (George W.) Bush's remark in November that the U.S. was willing to declare an end to the Korean War if North Korea renounced its nuclear weapons program," it said, citing a government source.

Bush has said he was willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to sign a peace document if Pyongyang abandons its nuclear drive. The United States, representing 16-nation U.N. forces, is a signatory to the 1953 armistice agreement that technically ended the Korean War.

Communist North Korea has long called for the conclusion of a peace treaty with the United States to replace the armistice mechanism, saying it is essential to end the nuclear standoff.

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The peninsula is technically in a state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty.

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