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N. Korea must break 'illusion' of nuclear status: China expert

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) -- Nations involved in the long-stalled talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program should keep up pressure on the North to break its "illusion" of becoming a nuclear state before any resumption of the six-party talks can take place, a Chinese expert said Wednesday.

After conducting its third nuclear test in February, North Korea amended its constitution in May, proclaiming its status as a nuclear-armed country, a move that further complicated international efforts to persuade the North to give up its nuclear program.

Zhang Liangui, an expert on North Korea at China's Central Party School, told China's state-run Global Times newspaper that the North's nuclear policy has not changed although Pyongyang wants to resume the six-party talks "without preconditions."

"Now, each party should try every possible means to show Pyongyang their firm determination to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Zhang said.

"They should also break the North's illusion that one day they will admit its status as a nuclear state," he said.

"In the past, the North considered the possibility of giving up nuclear weapons in exchange for assistance," Zhang said. "But now, it wants to turn back to the negotiation table as a nuclear state and act as a supervisor of other nuclear states, implying that if it were to give up nuclear weapons, it would want others to do the same first."

China has been keen to restart the six-party talks, but South Korea and the U.S. insist that a new round of six-party talks will not take place unless North Korea demonstrates its seriousness about denuclearization through concrete actions.

The off-and-on six-party talks that involve the two Koreas, China, the U.S., Japan and Russia have been stalled since late 2008. North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/131015/n-korea-must-break-illusion-nuclear-status-china-expert