North Korea nuclear talks set for Sept 27-30

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BEIJING, Sept 21 (Reuters) Talks between North Korea and regional powers on ending Pyongyang's atomic weapons programme will resume in Beijing from Sept. 27 to 30, China's Foreign Ministry said today.

Later, Russia's chief negotiator to the talks, Alexander Losyukov, told Interfax it was likely foreign ministers from the six parties would meet at either the end of October or November.

The Chinese announcement came a week after the lead US negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, said he expected to attend the talks despite reports Syria might have received North Korean nuclear aid.

Under an agreement reached in February by the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, Japan and host China, North Korea committed itself to disable all its nuclear facilities and to provide a complete declaration of all its nuclear programmes.

President George W. Bush said this month the United States would be willing to consider a peace treaty with North Korea if it relinquished its nuclear weapons programme.

Bush said he would offer a new ''security arrangement'' for the Korean peninsula if North Korean leader Kim Jong-il followed through with his country's commitments.

REUTERS ARB VC1950

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