WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A U.S. congressional delegation led by Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., returned from a six-country tour assured that North Korea will resume negotiations.
The congressman from Pennsylvania told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base Tuesday that the bipartisan delegation's main objective -- to break the denuclearization stalemate with Pyongyang -- had been accomplished.
"This trip was an overwhelming success ... with unprecedented levels of access and candor," he said.
According to Weldon, North Korea's Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun stated unequivocally, "Denuclearization is our final goal."
While Paek did confirm that his nation is a "nuclear state," he added that "it's only for defense purposes and ... we do not wish to preserve it for good."
In October 2002, North Korea acknowledged a program to enrich uranium, and Washington accused North Korea of running a secret nuclear weapons program, landing the nation in President Bush's "axis of evil."
The North Koreans claim they no longer are enriching uranium.
Weldon's delegation traveled over 30,000 miles in eight days to re-engage all nations -- Russia, South Korea, China, Japan and North Korea -- that, along with the United States, are engaged in the six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization.
They also achieved their second goal of delivering 12 tons of medical supplies, food, water and toys to tsunami victims in Indonesia.