Envoys to deadlocked North Korean nuclear talks consider taking a recess
BEIJING – Envoys at deadlocked North Korean nuclear talks met again Sunday in a final effort to produce a joint statement meant to guide future negotiations, but talks could be suspended if no agreement is reached, the Chinese government said Sunday.China did not say how long the suspension might last, but the Russian delegate reportedly said Saturday that it could be two weeks. Negotiators from the United States, North Korea and four other nations began their 13th straight day of talks at a Chinese government guesthouse.”Chief negotiators … may decide to take a recess if they fail again to agree on a planned common document,” the Chinese government said in an announcement carried by its official Xinhua News Agency.The U.S. envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, would not say whether there would be a recess. But he said there was little progress at a meeting Saturday with the North Korean delegation.Diplomats say the talks are stalemated over the North’s insistence on retaining a peaceful nuclear program, and over what Pyongyang would get if it renounces atomic weapons.The North “still has the view that the other five countries, frankly speaking, do not share,” Hill said.Hill had said Friday that a recess might be an option to let diplomats return to their home countries and review their work.But he warned that they needed to make preparations to ensure that any diplomatic gains this week were “locked in,” so that talks would not need to start from scratch when they met again.Hill had said he hoped to use Saturday’s meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, to discuss how to speed up negotiations.”We have options for dealing with this but there is one option we do not have and that is the option of simply walking away,” Hill said.The dispute erupted in late 2002 after U.S. officials said the North admitted violating a 1994 deal by embarking on a secret uranium enrichment program. Pyongyang later withdrew from the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.The North claimed in February that it had nuclear weapons.Pyongyang says it will not give up such weapons until Washington discards its “hostile policies” toward the North, removes any nuclear threat from the Korean Peninsula and normalizes relations with the country’s Stalinist government.The North also wants aid in exchange for freezing nuclear development, and then more for dismantling the program. Washington wants to see it verifiably dismantled before providing any rewards.Vail, Colorado
Support Local Journalism
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User