US offers peace if North Korea disarms nukes

SEOUL - The US has offered North Korea written security guarantees in an attempt to persuade it to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, a report said yesterday.

SEOUL - The US has offered North Korea written security guarantees in an attempt to persuade it to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, a report said yesterday.

Quoting diplomatic sources, the Yonhap news agency said the proposal was made at meetings between US and North Korean officials on November 27 and 28 in Beijing to pave the way for the resumption of six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

The report could not be confirmed independently. The disarmament talks resume on Monday in Beijing.

"At the meeting, the US side reaffirmed that it has no intention to attack or invade North Korea as was stated in the September joint agreement," a diplomatic source was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

"The US side suggested it could give such a security guarantee in a written form," the source said.

In return, North Korea should take specific steps, he said.

These reportedly include freezing its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon north of the capital, Pyongyang, allowing inspections by international watchdogs and shutting down its nuclear test site at Punggyeri in the northeast.

"Such a written security guarantee can be seen as a prelude to the normalisation of diplomatic ties between North Korea and the US," the source said.

North Korea signed a statement in September last year, pledging to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for security guarantees, energy assistance and improved relations with the West.

But it pulled out of the talks two months later, protesting at US sanctions because of alleged illicit activities. - Sapa-AFP

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