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N Korea seeking return to nuclear talks, says South

Written by: Staff

SEOUL, Mar 23 (Reuters) North Korea appears to be signalling its desire to return to stalled six-country talks on its nuclear programmes and to be interested in breaking the deadlock, South Korea's foreign minister said today.

Ban Ki-moon -- a candidate for the post of UN secretary-general -- also told Reuters a visit next month by Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States could help create the right atmosphere for the nuclear talks to resume.

Ban said unfortunately North Korea had linked US action against Pyongyang's alleged counterfeiting of dollars to the six-party talks, stalled since last November. US and North Korean officials met earlier this month to discuss the evidence Washington says it has of illicit activities by the North.

''We hope that North Koreans have realised all the serious implications of all these illicit activities,'' the minister said.

''It seems to us the North Koreans are also very much interested in making a breakthrough in this stalled, deadlocked situation.'' REUTERS SK RK1335

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