Talks involving North Korea and the United States have ended in Beijing, with one US official saying Pyongyang acknowledged it does have nuclear weapons.
The talks, in which China served as a mediator, were the first high-level discussions involving delegates from the United States and North Korea. US Secretary of State Colin Powell told an Asian policy group in Washington Thursday that all sides presented what he called "strong views."
He did not elaborate, but another official who asked not to be identified told reporters the North Koreans told the US delegation their country has developed nuclear weapons. US intelligence officials have argued for years that Pyongyang has one or two crude nuclear bombs, but the North Koreans have repeatedly denied this.
Secretary Powell told his audience he hopes North Korea now has a clearer understanding of world concern about its nuclear program. He also said Pyongyang should understand that the United States and others in the region will not be intimidated by what he called threats or bellicose statements from North Korea.
The United States wants a verifiable end to any North Korean nuclear weapons program. North Korea is demanding a guarantee that Washington will not attack, even though the United States repeatedly has said it has no such plans.
Secretary Powell said the United States, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea agree that nuclear weapons must not be allowed on the Korean peninsula. He also said all the parties agree that a solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis must be multi-lateral.