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    South Korea warns US against hard line on North

    South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun has warned that the United States taking a hard line over North Korea's nuclear weapons would have "grave repercussions" for the region.

    "There is no alternative left in dealing with this issue except dialogue, and a hard line policy will have grave repercussions and implications for the Korean peninsula," Mr Roh said in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, an international affairs think-tank.

    He urged new efforts at six-nation talks on the nuclear crisis. Mr Roh said efforts had to be made to avoid making North Korea feel threatened.

    North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia were to have held the fourth round of the talks in September but North Korean negotiators failed to turn up.

    North Korea has ruled out another round of the nuclear talks before the end of the year, Japan's top Government spokesman said on Thursday.

    Mr Roh is spending two days in Los Angeles before heading for a major Asia-Pacific leaders summit in Chile next week.

    He is to meet US President George W Bush at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Santiago.

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