updated 9/8/2005 4:31:44 AM ET 2005-09-08T08:31:44

International talks on North Korea’s nuclear program will resume next week, China’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday, as Pyongyang renewed its demand Washington withdraw its troops from the South to prove it doesn’t plan to attack.

The talks, aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, recessed Aug. 7 after the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia failed to agree on a statement of principles after 13 days of negotiations.

North Korea has insisted on the right to a civilian nuclear program, but Washington says it shouldn’t be allowed any nuclear program at all because of its record of broken promises.

The talks were supposed to resume in Beijing last week, but North Korea delayed their resumption by two weeks without setting a specific date, citing U.S.-South Korean military exercises and Washington’s appointment of a special envoy on North Korea’s human rights.

Qin Gang, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said the talks would resume Tuesday but didn’t provide any further details.

N. Korea: U.S. must pull out troops
Hours before the announcement, North Korea said the United States must withdraw its troops from South Korea if it is serious about its promise not to attack the communist state — a perceived threat the communist state has used to justify its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has repeatedly said it can’t dismantle its nuclear program unless the United States drops its “hostile” policy.

The Rodong Sinmun, the North’s main newspaper, claimed the United States is driving a “fire cloud of war” over the Korean Peninsula by positioning state-of-the-art military hardware in the South and preparing for a pre-emptive nuclear attack against the North.

“If it is true that the U.S. has no intention to invade (North Korea) and has the stance to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula and improve the relations with (North Korea), it should prove it in practice by making a decision for the withdrawal of its troops without delay,” the newspaper said in a commentary carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

The United States has said repeatedly it has no intention of invading North Korea.

Thursday was what North Korea called the 60th anniversary of U.S. troops’ “occupation” of South Korea. Korea was divided after its liberation from Japan’s colonial rule at the end of World War II in 1945, with U.S. forces stationed in the South and Soviet forces in the North.

About 32,500 American troops are now stationed in the South under a mutual defense treaty as a deterrent against threats from the North.

But the communist state said the recent U.S.-South Korean military exercise proved Washington was planning an invasion. The 12-day drill that ended this month was largely a computer-simulated war game that U.S. and South Korean officials say is purely defensive.

The nuclear row broke out in late 2002 after U.S. officials said the North admitted having a secret nuclear program in violation of an earlier deal to abandon its weapons ambitions. The two Koreas technically remain in a state of war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

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