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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


US Envoy Says No Progress Toward Restarting N. Korea Nuclear Talks

25 May 2006

U.S. envoy Christopher Hill says there has been no progress on efforts to bring North Korea back to nuclear Luis Ramirez disarmament talks, and there are no plans to offer new incentives to Pyongyang.

The chief U.S. envoy to six-party negotiations on ending the North Korean nuclear crisis says Washington is ruling out new incentives to get Pyongyang back into three-year old talks.

Speaking in Beijing, Christopher Hill said September's tentative agreement should be enough.

"I do not think the agreement needs to be changed. I do not think the agreement needs to be sweetened," he said. "I think it is time for the DPRK to understand where their interests lie and come back to the talks."

Under the agreement, North Korea said in principle it would dismantle all nuclear programs in exchange for energy aid and security guarantees.

But Pyongyang has refused to return to implementation talks after the United States imposed sanctions on the communist nation for its alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.

Washington has dismissed North Korea's insistence on linking the sanctions to nuclear discussions.

Earlier this month, media reports suggested that Washington might be preparing a new approach to revive talks, which also include South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China. But Hill, who is consulting with Asia allies this week, dismissed the idea after meeting with Chinese officials.

Echoing Hill's words, Chinese officials once again called for implementation of the September agreement "as soon as possible."

"The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula serves the interest of all parties concerned," says Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao. "China maintains the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula should be resolved through peaceful dialogue. This has remained unchanged."

China is preparing to host North Korea's foreign minister next week, a move analysts say may present another opportunity for Beijing to convince the North to return to talks.

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