Clinton Urges N. Korea to Take Steps on Nukes

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PUSAN, South Korea -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the U.S. government’s position on North Korea’s nuclear program Wednesday, urging the Stalinist state to take specific measures for denuclearization.

“The United States stands with our ally and we look to North Korea to take concrete steps that promote peace and stability and denuclearization,” Clinton said.

She said the South Korea-U.S. alliance has never been stronger, calling it “a linchpin to security and stability” in Northeast Asia.

Clinton made the remarks during a news conference held after talks with Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan on the sidelines of a global aid forum in Busan.

During the talks, Seoul and Washington agreed to hold a “2+2 meeting,” where the top officials of the foreign ministry and defense ministry of the two sides are to hold talks, next year.

The announcement came amid media reports that the United States was stepping up efforts to strengthen its presence in the Asia-Pacific region to encircle an “assertive” China.

A foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity that the two sides agreed to hold the talks again sometime next year.

Kim and Clinton exchanged views about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Myanmar and other regional and global issues, the official said.

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