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N Korea could give up nukes for US ties: Report

world Updated: Jan 22, 2009 11:51 IST

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North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear weapons if President Barack Obama agrees to conditions imposed by the communist regime, including establishing formal diplomatic relations, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper said.

The Japan-based Choson Sinbo paper--considered a mouthpiece of Pyongyang--said in a story posted on its Web site hours before Obama's inauguration on Tuesday that the North was waiting to see what position the new president would take on the nuclear standoff.

"It is too early to predict whether the Obama administration will endorse the North's nuclear possession or try to realize denuclearization through normalization of relations," the paper said. "But what is sure is that the North side is ready to deal with any choice by the enemy nation."

The paper is closely linked to Pyongyang and its articles are considered a reflection of the North's positions.

The US, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China have been trying for years to coax North Korea into giving up its atomic ambitions.Pyongyang agreed in 2007 to dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for aid, but the process has been stalled since August.

Last week, the North's Foreign Ministry said it would give up its nuclear weapons only if Washington establishes diplomatic relationswith the regime and the US Ceases to pose a nuclear threat to the North--an apparent reference to Pyongyang's long-standing claim that American nuclear weapons are hidden in South Korea.