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North Korea wants sanctions to be lifted

North Korea insisted that UN sanctions must be lifted before it would discuss dismantling its nuclear programs.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 15:57 IST

North Korea insisted on Monday that UN sanctions imposed after its nuclear test must be lifted before it would discuss dismantling its nuclear programs, according to a source present at the six-nation talks with Pyongyang.

North Korea's chief delegate to the talks, Kim Kye-Gwan, also said in his keynote address that US financial sanctions imposed last year on the Stalinist state on allegations of money laundering must also be removed before talks on disarmament could begin.

"The North Koreans said they would take measures to keep strengthening their nuclear deterrent as long as sanctions and pressure continues to exist," the source said.

The six-nation talks resumed after a 13 month break with Kim repeating a list of his nation's long-standing demands and said Pyongyang was "satisfied" with having nuclear weapons, a South Korean official told reporters earlier.

North Korea pulled out of the talks in November last year in protest at US financial sanctions and then stunned the world with its first ever nuclear test on October 9.

The talks bring together China, the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.

First Published: Dec 18, 2006 15:57 IST