N. Korea Nuclear Talks End with No Accord
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
Talks on resolving the North Korean nuclear issue have fallen flat again. North Korea insists that it's willing its nuclear weapons programs, but five days of negotiations in Beijing have failed to produce an agreement on any concrete steps toward that goal. The (unintelligible) talks how a little more urgency, thanks to the North's test back on October 9th.
NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.
ANTHONY KUHN: Going into the talks, Korean negotiator Kim Kye Gwan had stated that his country would not abandon its nuclear weapons unless the U.S. ended its hostile policy towards North Korea and lifted its financial sanctions. Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Kim made it clear that in five days of negotiations, he hadn't budged from that opening position.
Mr. KIM KYE GWAN (North Korean Chief Negotiator): (Speaking in foreign language)
AK: Under such pressure from the U.S., he said, how could North Korea begin such important discussion on suspending its nuclear programs and giving up its deterrent, which is aimed at safeguarding its sovereignty? Kim added that North Korea would continue to strengthen its nuclear deterrent.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said he and the Chinese had seen encouraging signs earlier on that North Korea, or the DPRK, as it's formally known, was ready to discuss the details of nuclear disarmament.
Mr. CHRISTOPHER HILL (Assistant Secretary of State, White House): Alas, by the end of the week, it was clear the DPRK negotiating team did not have the instructions that they needed to go forward and to agree with the proposals that we have put forward.
AK: The North Koreans insisted on the lifting of U.S. financial sanctions, including the freezing of their assets in a bank in Macau. The U.S says the bank helped North Korea launder money. U.S. Treasury officials did meet separately on this subject with North Korean officials, but in two days, they didn't reach any agreement except to resume talks next month.
Hill said the nuclear negotiations would now go into recess for a matter of weeks - another 13-month hiatus like the one that preceded these talks, he said, wouldn't do.
CH: We can't go another 13 months. It would really, I think, not be possible; we cannot sustain the protocol support for this process.
AK: Japan's lead negotiator, Kenichiro Sasae, told reporters that the lack of results today was bound to raise doubts about the usefulness of the six-party talks.
Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Beijing.
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