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Friday, November 11, 2005

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About KoreaSix-Party Talks Break Without Progress
Six-party talks in Beijing aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear programs went into recess on Friday without so much as a date for their resumption agreed. However, an official close to the South Korean delegation said, "Everything considered, it looks like a resumption this year will be difficult.” The fresh round only lasted three days and was largely taken up with a rehash of old arguments.

Wu Dawei, China's chief delegate to the talks, in a chairman’s statement said the six countries involved “will take steps to realize a verifiable denuclearized Korean Peninsula within a short time and move on to contribute to the establishment of permanent peace and stability in Northeast Asia.” The remarks show how little progress has been made since a statement of principles adopted in the last round of talks in September.

North Korea reportedly continued stalling on the last day with more complaints about U.S. sanctions against North Korean firms for allegedly funneling Pyongyang’s ill-gotten gains from counterfeiting and drug smuggling. After earlier protesting that the matter was not on the agenda, Washington’s delegation head Christopher Hill said North Korea’s financial transactions required close monitoring since the country had been developing nuclear weapons and had withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

South Korean chief negotiator Song Min-soon was nonetheless cautiously optimistic. “It is difficult to expect a resolution of the issue within a couple of months, but it looks as though a way of bringing harmony to the talks will be found,” he said.

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