Guatemala agrees diplomatic ties with N Korea

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Guatemela City, Oct 4: Guatemala will establish diplomatic relations with North Korea after the isolated Asian nation agreed this week to suspend its nuclear facilities, the Guatemalan government said today.

''North Korea agreed to eliminate its nuclear weapons and we saw Guatemala's diplomatic recognition as a support for this process,'' Vice President Eduardo Stein told reporters.

Leaders of the two Koreas agreed on Thursday to try to bring peace and formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War, a day after the North signed up to an international deal to disable its nuclear facilities.

North Korea requested diplomatic ties with Guatemala four years ago but Central American nation turned it down. It has now joined a list of over 20 Latin American countries and more than 100 worldwide that recognize the country.

''For many countries in Latin America it has be a policy to establish formal diplomatic relations with North Korea as a way to facilitate understanding between the two Koreas,'' Stein said.

Foreign Minister Gert Rosenthal told Reuters Guatemala did not plan to open an embassy in North Korea and said the gesture was aimed at strengthening ties with South Korea, which has long had relations with Guatemala.

''It is time for North Korea to return to the community of nations after so many years of isolation,'' said Rosenthal.

The two Koreas will push for talks next month with China and the United States to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which technically is still going on because a peace treaty has not yet been signed.


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