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White House hails DPRK's suspension of nuke activities

(Xinhua)

08:35, March 01, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Wednesday hailed the suspension of nuclear activities by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a "positive first step" towards the resumption of the six-party talks.

"These are concrete measures that we consider a positive first step toward complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, which remains this administration' s core goal," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a regular news briefing.

He agreed that it is a step towards renewed six-party talks, a forum that involves the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, China, the United States, Russia and Japan.

The DPRK said on Wednesday that it would suspend nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and uranium enrichment activity as agreed with the United States in bilateral talks in the Chinese capital of Beijing last week.

In addition, the DPRK agreed to the return of UN inspectors to "verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Nyongbyon and confirm the disablement of the 5-MW reactor and associated facilities."

In return, Washington agreed to meet the DPRK to finalize the details to move forward with proposed 240,000 metric tons of American nutritional assistance.

"We believe that it is a positive sign that, in a relatively short period after the change of leadership in North Korea, that the DPRK decided to re-engage with the United States in substantive discussions and to take some positive initial steps," Carney said.

He challenged the DPRK to follow up with actions, saying " Commitments to do something are one thing, actually doing them are another."

"Now, our starting point is we expect continuity in behavior from the North Korean leadership," he added.

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