N. Korea Talks Near Impasse, But Will Go On

Friday, August 5, 2005

BEIJING, Aug. 4 -- Diplomats seeking an agreement on principles for North Korean nuclear disarmament decided Thursday to hold further negotiating sessions despite fundamental differences that have left them deadlocked after 10 days of talks.

Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and the chief U.S. delegate, said an accord proposed by China on dismantling North Korea's nuclear programs has been accepted by five of the six nations involved in the talks: the United States, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China. North Korea, he told reporters, is the holdout.

Nevertheless, Hill said, delegation leaders meeting Thursday evening resolved to keep trying to whittle away differences for another day or so. At the same time, he added, the United States is insisting on clarity, leaving no room for diplomatic ambiguity or the papering over of disagreements.

"We cannot have a situation where the North Koreans pretend to abandon their nuclear weapons and where we pretend to believe them," he said.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan acknowledged to reporters that the talks had reached a "stalemate," according to the Associated Press.

"We are for denuclearizing, but we also want to possess the right to peaceful nuclear activities," Kim said. "As you know, only one country is opposing that," he said, referring to the United States.

-- Edward Cody


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