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North Korea digs in as nuclear talks resume
Updated: 2005-09-14 06:54

BEIJING - North Korea insisted Tuesday it will not give up its right to civilian nuclear programs, raising questions about the possibility of a breakthrough as six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its atomic weapons resumed after a five-week recess. AP reported.

Negotiators for the Six-Party Talks pose for a photo before the meeting at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing yesterday. From left to right: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev, Director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry抯 Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kenichiro Sasae, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill, Democratic People抯 Republic of Korea Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan and Republic of Korea Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon.
Negotiators for the Six-Party Talks pose for a photo before the meeting at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing September 13, 2005. [Reuters]

Envoys from China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas clasped hands together at a state guesthouse in Beijing before continuing the fourth round of talks since 2003 that have so far failed to resolve the standoff.

Last month, negotiators took a break after a record 13 days of meetings ended without agreement on a statement of principles on the North's disarmament.

No end date has been set for this week's talks, but the main U.S. negotiator said it would likely be shorter than last time.

"The sense is we should be able to wrap this up in a matter of days, not weeks," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said.

The issue of the North's peaceful nuclear program will be raised at the talks but Hill emphasized the focus is on ridding the North of atomic weapons.

"The fundamental question is whether (North Korea) is prepared to abandon its nuclear programs," he said, noting those programs are involved in production of materials for nuclear weapons.

Hill saw the North Korean delegation briefly Tuesday and said he planned a full one-on-one session with them Wednesday where their views would be made known.
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