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Park, Xi expected to agree on denuclearization of N. Korea: FM

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, June 18 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to adopt a joint declaration that includes the denuclearization of North Korea after their summit talks set for late this month, Seoul's top diplomat said Tuesday.

Asked whether the term "denuclearization" would be included into a joint statement following the planned Park-Xi summit in Beijing, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se told lawmakers during a parliamentary session, "We anticipate that."

If the word is included, it would demonstrate the new Chinese government's willingness to step up efforts to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, Seoul officials have said.

"One of the top priorities among South Korea, the U.S. and China is the denuclearization of North Korea," Yun told lawmakers.

Park is scheduled to make a state visit to China late this month for her first summit with Xi since taking office in February.

After months of provocations, including a third nuclear test and bellicose threats against South Korea and the U.S., North Korea has appeared to shift to dialogue in recent weeks. Pyongyang had proposed talks with Seoul, but the proposed inter-Korean dialogue collapsed last week due to disputes over the seniority level of chief representatives.

On Sunday, North Korea issued a surprise overture of talks to the U.S., but insisted that there should be no preconditions if such a dialogue takes place -- terms Washington would never accept.

Officials in Seoul and Washington have skeptically reacted with the North's latest overture, saying Pyongyang must demonstrate its sincerity for talks through actions, not words.

Yun said that the U.S. is unlikely to accept the North's dialogue offer "given the contents of the North's proposal."

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