Official paper begins pre-talks maneuvers

North Korea has called on the United States to accept what it calls a package deal to end the yearlong crisis over its nuclear weapons program, RFA's Korean service reports.

"The U.S. should make the bold political decision to accept the proposal for a package solution based on the principle of simultaneous action at an early date," the official Communist Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said.

The report said the package would involve "simultaneous action" in which the United States should drop its "hostile policy" towards the isolated Stalinist regime, and is being viewed by some analysts as pre-talk positioning by Pyongyang.

It comes amid a flurry of diplomatic visits aimed at setting up a second round of six-nation talks on the nuclear crisis before the end of the year. Some officials have predicted mid-December as a potential timeframe for the talks.

Diplomats from the United States, North and South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia met in Beijing for China-brokered talks in late August. The discussions ended with no firm dates for a second round of meetings.

The crisis began in October last year when Pyongyang admitted to running a secret uranium-enrichment program in violation of a 1994 accord with the United States.

North Korea now says it wants a bilateral non-aggression pact with the United States before it abandons its nuclear arms program, while the United States wants North Korea to move quickly to scrap the nuclear program first.

However, President George W. Bush has indicated that the United States might be prepared to offer informal security guarantees that it would not invade North Korea. North Korea said it would consider Bush's offer.

Washington has ruled out signing a formal non-aggression treaty.#####


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