US, North Korea envoys report progress at nuclear talks

April 9th, 2008 - 12:05 am ICT by admin  

Singapore, April 8 (DPA) The top nuclear negotiators for the US and North Korea made progress during talks Tuesday in narrowing the differences over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, but no deal was reached. “We had a good discussion of all the issues, including the six-party process, where we are and what needs to be done to move ahead,” said US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill.

North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan and Hill met for four-and-a-half hours at the US Embassy in Singapore.

“The process went beyond Geneva,” Hill told a news briefing, referring to their meeting last month that which ended in an impasse.

There was “no agreement”, Hill said, noting the talks were not held for that purpose.

Both negotiators reported back to their capitals.

Hill held out the hope “for follow up activity” in Beijing Wednesday, without elaborating.

He described the discussions as “substantive and lengthy” but would not go into details. “We have to make sure our bosses digest” the reports on the talks, Hill said.

He did not say when the six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme would resume. They have been deadlocked since North Korea missed an end-of-2007 deadline to declare its nuclear programmes under a deal with the US, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

The US has pressed North Korea to come clean on its alleged enrichments of weapons-grade uranium and suspicions that it has shared nuclear technology with other countries. Enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

The US has charged that the list submitted last November was not a complete declaration.

Under a deal reached at the six-party talks in February last year, North Korea would receive energy and economic aid as well as diplomatic benefits in return for full denuclearisation.

Hill was scheduled to leave for Beijing early Wednesday.

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