US, N.Korea reach no deal on talks

Updated: 2006-11-30 09:28

BEIJING - US and North Korean diplomats failed to reach an agreement Wednesday on when to resume six-nation talks on Pyongyang's disputed nuclear program, but stressed their commitment to moving the process forward.

North Korean negotiator Kim Kye Gwan arrives at Beijing airport Tuesday Nov. 28, 2006. Kim arrived to prepare for possible six-party talks on the North's nuclear weapons program. [AP]
US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said after two days of talks with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan that the sides "shared ideas that could help ensure progress when the six-party talks resume," according to a US Embassy statement.

The North said in its own statement that it "promised to study these ideas."

No date was set for the talks to resume. Hill planned to leave Beijing on Thursday without a follow-up meeting, said Susan Stevenson, spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Beijing.

Hill and Kim also met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei during the talks Tuesday and Wednesday. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site late that the parties "frankly and deeply exchanged views on the issue of promoting the process of the six-party talks and improve mutual understanding," without elaborating.

"The three parties also agreed to strive for the progress of the talks," the statement said.

Japan's Kyodo News agency cited unidentified officials at the talks as saying Kim had demanded the US lift financial sanctions and freeze UN sanctions that were imposed after the October nuclear test.

Hill responded by saying that the possible lifting of financial sanctions can be discussed during the talks and working-level discussions, which are expected to be held simultaneously, Kyodo said. Similar stances were taken when the three met bilaterally and trilaterally on Tuesday, Japanese and South Korean media have reported.

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