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North Korea Nuclear Negotiators Break for Two-Day Recess

  • VOA News

China says envoys at the six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs are taking a two-day recess to consider a draft statement on Pyongyang's disarmament process.

Chinese envoy Wu Dawei said Sunday negotiators are taking a break to allow their governments to review and endorse the draft.

US envoy Christopher Hill said earlier today that even without a joint statement, the envoys agree, for the most part, on what North Korea must accomplish by the end of the year.

For the past four days in Beijing, the negotiators have largely focused on the scope and definition of nuclear disablement.

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon last year, but agreed in principle last February to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for fuel and political concessions.

Pyongyang shut down its main atomic reactor at Yongbyon in July, and has said it will describe all of its nuclear activities by the end of December.

In another development today, Japan said it would extend economic sanctions on North Korea for another six months.

Japan's relations with North Korea have been strained because of North Korea's past abduction of Japanese citizens. The issue has tested Japan's commitment to the six-nation talks, but Japan's nuclear envoy (Kenichiro Sasae) said that, for now, Tokyo is willing to put global interests ahead of its own.

Japan has asked South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun to raise the abductions issue during a rare summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang Tuesday.

South Korean officials said on Sunday Mr. Roh will cross the two countries' border by walking on foot - a first for a South Korean leader.

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