Tenth day of six-party talks brings no clarity

North Korea expresses dissatisfaction against heavy pressure China imposes on the country. Thursday is the tenth day of six-party talks, and China wants the communist state to accept a proposal of removing nuclear weapons from Korean peninsula.

The U.S., China, South Korea, Japan and Russia Wednesday agreed to a draft statement of principles on nuclear disarmament for North Korea, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said. Chinese officials are meeting North Korean diplomats today to go over the plan.

Six-nation talks on ending North Korea nuclear weapons development are entering their 10th day in Beijing. The U.S. wants the communist nation to give up its entire nuclear program, including the civilian development of nuclear energy, in return for food, economic aid and security guarantees.

“We'll be here as long as we feel it's useful to be here," Hill said as he left the St. Regis Hotel in Beijing this morning for the U.S. embassy. “I do not see any reason to meet the North Koreans" because the other five nations have responded to the Chinese draft.

"Everyone in Washington very much wants to see we reach an agreement, an agreement on principles, so that we can move on," he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Hill will meet Chinese officials later today, he said, after meeting the Japanese delegation this morning.

“I am aware that China is talking with North Korea," he was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

North Korea told the U.S. in October 2002 it had broken a 1994 agreement on halting nuclear development and was continuing with its program sparking the crisis. Negotiations with North Korea resumed on July 26 after a 13-month hiatus, during which the country announced it had built nuclear weapons.

The U.S. has done as much as possible to facilitate an agreement, Hill said Wednesday.

Three previous rounds of talks failed to end the crisis, and negotiators from the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and host nation China -- meeting for the fourth time in two years -- faced the prospect of another abortive outcome, Reuters reminds.

This fourth round of six-party talks has been the most promising in terms of an unprecedented level of contact between the U.S. and North Korean delegations, with at least six one-on-one meetings in the first seven days, as well as the length of debate over the joint statement.

The crisis erupted in October 2002 when U.S. officials confronted the reclusive state with evidence it was violating international protocol by pursuing a clandestine uranium enrichment weapons program.

The North Koreans responded by throwing out U.N. weapons inspectors, abandoning the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and restarting their mothballed Yongbyon reactor.

Pyongyang upped the stakes in February, announcing it now had nuclear weapons and demanding aid, assurances and diplomatic recognition from Washington in return for scrapping them.

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