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Posted : 2012-03-01 15:25
Updated : 2012-03-01 15:25

US-NK nuclear deal paves way for 6-party talks: Seoul official

The latest nuclear deal between the United States and North Korea is a good first step to pave the way for resuming long-stalled six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs, a senior South Korean official said Thursday.

The U.S. and the North simultaneously announced the deal Wednesday, under which Pyongyang promised to temporarily halt its uranium enrichment program, accept U.N. inspectors and put a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests in exchange for food aid.

The agreement, reached in last week's high-level talks between Washington and Pyoungyang, boosted the prospects of restarting the six-party talks that bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. The negotiations have been stalled since the last round in late 2008.

"It's like opening the first door" to restarting the nuclear talks, a senior South Korean official told reporters. "North Korea has accepted our demand for denuclearization pre-steps ... This is a good sign that the discussions went in a satisfactory way relatively quickly, as we wanted."

The official said, however, the nuclear talks cannot reopen with only a "promise on paper," stressing the need for to actively implement the agreement. The North is also unlikely to return to the six-party talks unless the promised aid is delivered first, he said.

The official also expressed his hopes for the resumption of inter-Korean dialogue. (Yonhap)

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