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Bush offers bilateral talks with N. Korea
Chicago Tribune/AP
July 9, 2006

SEOUL -- A U.S. envoy expressed support for China's proposal to hold informal six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear threat and offered to meet bilaterally with North Korea on the sidelines of those discussions.

U.S. envoy Christopher Hill was in Seoul on a tour of regional capitals to coordinate the international response to the North's test-firing of seven missiles on Wednesday. The tests caused an international outrage but also division over whether North Korea should be punished.

  Earlier Saturday, Hill rejected North Korea's demand that Washington lift financial measures against the regime as a condition for returning to six-party talks.

North Korea's missile tests caused an international furor, and a draft UN resolution on sanctions against the reclusive regime could be put to a vote Saturday.

South Korea said Friday that it would withhold food and fertilizer shipments to impoverished North Korea until the missile crisis is resolved, even as it pledged to hold high-level talks with the communist regime next week.

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

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