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North Korea called for verification checks of South Korea on Monday
North Korea called for verification checks of South Korea on Monday to try and resolve issues and restart stalled negotiations on the communist state's atomic weapons program.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited a North Korean military official as saying that "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula does not only mean Pyongyang's disarmament, but should also include verification of nuclear facilities in South Korea."

"As long as there is no nuclear dismantlement in the South to clear nuclear threats from the United States, dismantlement to remove our nuclear arms won't materialize," a spokesman for the North's General Chief of Staff said.

The statement reiterates Pyongyang's claim last month that Washington's foreign policies forced the isolated state to develop nuclear weapons, following the U.S. deployment of atomic weapons in South Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a ceasefire rather that a peace treaty.

Last year the impoverished communist country announced it had 14,000 unspent fuel rods, which Seoul has estimated amount to some 100 tons of uranium. South Korea has 20 nuclear reactors providing the country with 40% of its energy needs and plans to increase its nuclear facilities in the future.

The six-nation talks, involving North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, were launched in 2003 to persuade North Korea to give up its controversial nuclear program after Pyongyang withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

North Korea announced in October 2006 that it had successfully conducted a nuclear bomb test and become a nuclear power.

Under deals reached in 2007, the reclusive Communist regime began disabling a nuclear reactor and other facilities at Yongbyon under U.S. supervision in exchange for economic aid and political incentives.

In 2008, the U.S. removed North Korea from the blacklist of countries supporting international terrorism after Pyongyang gave assurances on verification measures, but made it clear that Iran and North Korea are still considered by Washington as dangerous.

However, in December, the latest round of six-party talks resulted in deadlock over a U.S. demand that nuclear inspectors be allowed to take samples out of the country from North Korean facilities for further analysis.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that an international conference on security in northeast Asia will be held in Moscow on February 19-20 as part of the six-nation talks.


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