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North Korea is willing...
A senior Russian official said Thursday Pyongyang's latest statement of freezing its nuclear program is "an important and serious step, which should not be left without response," Itar-Tass news agency reported. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said that "the step confirms some previous statements of Pyongyang on a possibility of giving up its nuclear program, specifically its military component." In a statement released by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s official Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday, Pyongyang said that it is set to refrain from the test and production of nuclear weapons and stop even operating nuclear power industry for a peaceful purpose as first-phase measures of its package solution to settle the nuclear issue peacefully. The Russian deputy minister said Moscow had informed the United States of its stand on the DPRK nuclear issue and suggested that "Pyongyang's statement should be taken seriously." "Freezing is not a final goal, but an important step towards attaining that goal. Concrete agreements may be reached on this basis in the six-party talks," Losyukov stressed. He noted that it is still possible to hold the second round of the six-nation negotiations on the issue in January, although he said earlier this week that the chances for holding the multilateral talks this month are slim. "We still have two weeks left at our disposal, and there is a chance to hold the next round this month," the high-ranking diplomat said. However, he called on parties involved to make more efforts in finalizing the document for further negotiations on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular, expressing his optimism over the possible agreement on the principal goals of the talks. The first round of negotiations on the DPRK nuclear issue was held in Beijing in late August with the participation of representatives from DPRK, South Korea, Russia, China, the United States and Japan. Diplomatic efforts are underway to set the date for the next round of talks. Enditem
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