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US envoy says NKorea nuclear talks hit stalemate

 U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill, center, gestures as he speak to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for six-party talks in Beijing Tues...
 U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill speaks to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for the six-party talks in Beijing Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. ...

China Koreas Nuclear

U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill, center, gestures as he speak to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for six-party talks in Beijing Tues...

China Koreas Nuclear

U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill speaks to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for the six-party talks in Beijing Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. ...

Talks centered on how North Korea will give an accounting of its past atomic activities hit a wall Wednesday as Pyongyang snubbed a Chinese draft on the process, envoys said, leaving prospects for progress looking dismal.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said delegates "had some real difficulties getting consensus on moving forward" with a draft agreement distributed by host China on the tricky issue.
North Korea did not seem to want to use the proposal as a basis for discussions, Hill said.
"We did not make any progress today. Not at all," he told reporters after meetings with chief envoys from North and South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.
"Most delegations were prepared to work on the Chinese text," Hill said. "There was a consensus on how to move forward. That consensus was not shared by the DPRK." The DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"Differences were not narrowed," said South Korea's representative, Kim Sook.
Pyongyang has refused to agree to let outside inspectors take samples _ a key method of ensuring that the communist regime is being truthful _ from its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon.
It was not immediately clear how long the talks that began Monday would last. They were originally scheduled to last for three days. Kyodo news agency, citing Japanese nuclear negotiator Akitaka Saiki, said more meetings were scheduled for Thursday.
Hill said he met with North Korean negotiators on Wednesday in a session he described as "difficult" but did not give any details. Plenary meetings throughout the day, which the American envoy said were "tough, long," also had no breakthroughs.
The six-party talks have taken place in fits and starts since 2003. In 2006, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test. Pyongyang agreed to a disarmament-for-aid pact in 2007, but the disarmament process stalled in August amid a standoff with the U.S. over verification.
The talks are also looking at setting a schedule for delivery of the remaining fuel oil aid to the impoverished country and determining a timetable for disabling its nuclear facilities.
North Korea submitted an inventory of its past activities in June. U.S. officials said North Korea agreed previously to allow experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites.
But Pyongyang says it agreed only to let nuclear inspectors visit its main atomic complex in Yongbyon, view related documents and interview scientists _ but that it would not allow outside inspectors to take samples.
Kim cited his North Korean counterpart as saying that samples were not currently an option because distrust remained between Washington and Pyongyang.
Hill said the U.S. was not trying to single out the North but was simply looking for a verification system that "works throughout the world."
"We're not looking to create some kind of North Korean exceptionalism," he said. "We're not looking for anything new, or different. We're looking for tried and tested ways of conducting verification."
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Associated Press writer Kwang-Tae Kim in Beijing contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-10-20 22:41 GMT+08:00