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UN chief "encouraged" by progress made in DPRK-U.S. talks

(Xinhua)

10:58, March 01, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon has welcomed steps forward in talks between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the DPRK's nuclear arsenal, according to a statement released here Wednesday.

"The secretary-general is encouraged by the resumption of the DPRK-US dialogue and welcomes the positive and substantive progress achieved at their recent talks in Beijing," said the statement by Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky.

The DPRK announced on Wednesday that it will suspend nuclear tests, long-range missile launches, and uranium enrichment activities after holding a fresh round of high-level talks with U. S. officials in China from Feb. 23-24 The DPRK also agreed to let the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment.

"The secretary-general hopes the expressed commitment by DPRK to take several initial steps will be implemented toward a verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," said the statement.

"The secretary-general once again encourages the parties concerned to step up their efforts to settle outstanding issues by peaceful means including dialogue," it said.

The Six-party talks on the DPRK's nuclear program began in 2003 and brought together the DPRK, the U.S., China, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan. The talks stalled in December 2008 and the DPRK left negotiations in 2009.

The statement also stressed "the urgency of meeting the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable people in DPRK."

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