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Clinton says U.S., ROK, Japan to meet over talks with Pyongyang

(Xinhua)

16:19, March 10, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan will meet to discuss the next steps following Pyongyang's suspension of uranium enrichment, nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The top U.S. diplomat said the three allies will have a trilateral meeting soon in response to the move of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced late last month following talks with the United States in Beijing days earlier.

"This is a modest step in the right direction and we will be watching closely and judging North Korea's leaders by their actions," Clinton told reporters after meeting with her ROK counterpart Kim Sung-hwan.

Under its agreement with the United States, the DPRK also agreed to allow UN inspectors' return to the country 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, the United States has agreed to provide the DPRK with 240,000 tons of nutritional assistance. And the two sides met early this week in Beijing over the administrative details of the program.

Clinton said she and Kim discussed the nutritional assistance for the most vulnerable populations in the DPRK. "We are working to move it forward soon," she added.

For his part, Kim called the outcome of the recent Beijing discussions "a meaningful first step" toward resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, saying "faithful implementation" of the necessary measures such as moratorium on Nyongbyon nuclear activities and the return of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors is important.

"Secretary Clinton and I agreed that continued coordination between the ROK and the U.S. will be the single most important factor in the coming discussions on the resumption of the six- party talks," he said, referring to the mechanism that also involves Japan, China and Russia.

"Secretary Clinton emphasized that there will not be a fundamental improvement of relations between Washington and Pyongyang without an improvement of inter-Korean relations. And we both agreed that dialogue should be promoted and relations should be improved between the two Koreas," Kim added.

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