September 18, 2005 in Nation/World

North Korean nuclear talks stretch on

Associated Press
 

BEIJING – The United States and other countries failed to agree Saturday to a Chinese proposal that would let North Korea pursue peaceful nuclear activities if it gives up its atomic weapons program, and talks were extended into another day.

Several delegations in six-nation negotiations on ending North Korea’s nuclear arms program indicated they were dissatisfied with the compromise offered by China, the U.S. envoy said after a long day of discussions that dragged late into the night.

“Several delegations, including ours, had difficulties with it,” Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said, adding that the negotiations would continue into the night and today.

“We’re trying to reach something with it,” he told reporters. “I would like to keep going until we get something.”

Washington insists North Korea cannot be trusted with any type of nuclear program, given its history of pursuing atomic bombs.

The talks include China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas.

The Chinese proposal affirms North Korea’s right to peaceful nuclear activities after it ends its weapons program.

The Pyongyang regime had not directly commented on the proposal, but after it was put forward Friday, a spokesman for the North denounced efforts to get it to give up its nuclear program without concessions by the United States.

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