NKorean nuclear talks postponed

Talks to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons probably won't resume this week as planned, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said.

“There is a consensus among participating nations that it would be better to delay talks,” the official, who declined to be identified, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. He declined to say whether North Korea is refusing to return to the talks.

The talks will probably not resume until mid September, the Beijing Times reported on its Web site today, citing North Korea's Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun. North Korea will need more time to consider the issues, the newspaper reported, citing Park, without giving more details, Bloomberg informs.

The U.S. and North Korea failed to narrow their differences in Beijing after 13 days of six-nation talks and called a recess on Aug. 7. The participants, including China, Japan and Russia, agreed to resume talks in the week of Aug. 29.

The status of the six-party talks had been up in the air, with silence from all sides on a firm date to resume, after the participants agreed to a three-week recess in the last round which ended this month.

Japan and host China, partners in the deadlocked negotiations along with the United States, Russia and the two Koreas, said on Friday the talks were on for this week, but no exact date had been fixed.

The regional powers hope to persuade reclusive and impoverished North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons programmes in exchange for security guarantees and economic assistance, according to Reuters.

Talks stalled after North Korea insisted on retaining a peaceful nuclear program to produce power. U.S. officials are concerned North Korea may convert a civilian nuclear program to military use and build nuclear weapons. North Korea said on Feb. 10 it had nuclear weapons and planned to build more.

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