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  Thursday, August 6, 2020
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Washington
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Washington was ready to resume nuclear talks with North Korea but urged countries "not to give in" to Pyongyang's "unpredictable behavior."

North Korea withdrew from the six-nation talks on its nuclear program in protest against criticism from the United Nations Security Council over its rocket launch earlier this month. The reclusive communist regime also expelled UN nuclear inspectors and pledged to restart work at its Yongbyon reactor.

"We are prepared to resume the six-party talks," Clinton told U.S. lawmakers at a hearing in the House of Representatives.

However, she said: "We have to be strong, patient and consistent and not give in to the kind of back and forth and the unpredictable behavior of the North Korean regime."

The six-nation talks, involving North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, were launched in 2003 after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

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

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.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is to visit North Korea on Thursday for talks likely to focus on tensions over the North's recent rocket launch and its withdrawal from the nuclear negotiations.

Russia joined international criticism of the rocket launch, while opposing new sanctions against the North.

Lavrov's visit comes at a tense time in relations between the two Koreas.

North Korea has reacted furiously to suggestions that Seoul could join the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a U.S.-led pact to prevent supplies of weapons of mass destruction, and has warned that it would consider such a move a declaration of war.


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