The eighth day of six-party talks seems to lead to little progress. World envoys try to persuade North Korea yield to compromise, following the second draft of the joint statement proposed by host China.
The heads of delegations from the six governments - which also include host China and Russia - were to hold their first group meeting since Saturday. Their deputies spent 3 1/2 hours on Monday reviewing the proposed statement of principles to guide future negotiations.
Envoys planned to start work on a third draft after they spent the weekend struggling with North Korea's demands for what it should receive if it disarms, said Song Min-soon, South Korean counterpart . "There are all political and economic measures each country has presented so far, and contains much wisdom each country's delegates have," he was quoted as saying by AP. "This will be a process of coordinating and matching the range of dismantling North Korea's nuclear program and each country's corresponding measures."
No details of any draft statements have been released, but reports during the weekend said it would mention energy aid and a security guarantee for Pyongyang and eventually normalized political relations with Washington.
U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill said the United States and North Korea were "not able to bridge any differences" in yesterday's one-to-one talks.
It was still difficult for the US and North Korea to reach mutual understanding even though there was "no problem" for the two to talk, Hill told reporters today before meeting the Chinese delegation at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Hindu informs.
"A lot of differences" still remained between the DPRK and the other participants of the six-party talks, he said, using the reclusive communist nation's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
On the draft joint statement, which is currently being discussed by the six parties, Hill said the second draft "clearly" reflected each side's comments and was "better" than the first one prepared by China, the host of the talks that involves the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia.
The United States and North Korea have been unable so far to agree on who should make the first move on the path to the North's disarmament, according to delegates.
The latest nuclear standoff was sparked after U.S. officials said in late 2002 that the North admitted to violating a 1994 deal by embarking on a secret uranium enrichment program.
In February, the North claimed it had nuclear weapons and has since taken steps that would allow it to harvest more plutonium for possible use in bombs. Many experts believe the North already has enough weapons-grade material for about a half-dozen atomic weapons.
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