Little progress made in six-nation talks on NKorea's nuclear disarmament

A fresh round of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament began Wednesday with negotiators struggling to agree on when Pyongyang will disarm and how it will be rewarded. Delegates from the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and host China met throughout the day to decide on how to proceed with actions proposed in a joint statement issued during the last round in September, but little progress was made.

While Washington and Pyongyang, the key players, held a bilateral meeting, both appeared unwilling to budge from their positions.

"We still can see that various parties have a difference of views on how to implement the joint statement and on the way it should be implemented," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a briefing late Wednesday.

But, he said, "all the six parties are working earnestly."

In September, North Korea pledged to give up nuclear development in exchange for aid and a security guarantee, but raised doubts about its willingness to proceed by later demanding a civilian nuclear reactor before it disarms, a move Washington continues to reject.

On Wednesday, the North's delegation repeated its demand for a reactor, calling it "necessary as a sign of confidence-building with the United States," Japan's Kyodo news agency reported, citing an unidentified source close to the talks, the AP says.

No details of the U.S.-North Korea meeting were immediately available, said a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman on customary condition of anonymity.


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