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Korean Nuclear Talks Next Week May Be Short, Fruitful: US Official

File image of talks held earlier this year.

Washington (AFP) Nov 03, 2005
The next round of multilateral talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program could be short and fruitful, a senior US official hinted Thursday.

Expectations are that the fifth round of the six-party talks in Beijing beginning on November 9 could be wrapped up before the start of a preparatory meeting for the APEC summit in the South Korean city of Busan three days later, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"I think that's everybody's going-in intention," the official said.

Aside from host China, the six-party talks involve the United States, two Koreas, Japan and Russia.

Some of the officials at the nuclear talks in the Chinese capital are involved in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum senior officials' meeting on November 12-13 ahead of the summit on Nov 18-19 to be attended by US President George W. Bush and leaders of 20 other economies.

If resolution is difficult, China has proposed a break in the six-party talks next week to enable officials to attend the APEC meetings.

At the last round of the six-party talks in September, a joint statement was adopted in which North Korea pledged to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

But the North later warned it would not dismantle its nuclear arsenal until the United States supplied it with a light-water atomic reactor to generate electricity.

The United States insists the five parties negotiating with North Korea had agreed that Pyongyang must first disarm before any civilian nuclear program was discussed.

Joseph DeTrani, the special US envoy to the six-party talks, told reporters on Wednesday in Washington that a mechanism was being considered for implementation of the complex accord with North Korea.

It could comprise "working groups" looking into details on how Pyongyang could dismantle its nuclear weapons arsenal in return for security guarantees, diplomatic recognition and energy and economic aid, he said, giving an upbeat note to the talks.

The anonymous US official on Thursday indicated that North Korea could submit a plan to dismantle its nuclear weapons arsenal at the six-party talks.

"Look, if the North Korean government arrives at the table and says here is our plan for dismantling our nuclear programs, and our plan for a nuclear free peninsula, and that is on its face acceptable to all the other governments, then clearly that would merit further and intensive discussions," he said.

"We will see if it happens," he added.

The nuclear crisis flared up in October 2002 after the United States accused North Korea of running a secret uranium-enrichment program.

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U.S. Pushes Nuclear Deal With India
Washington (UPI) Nov 03, 2005
A skeptical Congress is weighing the advantages of a U.S. nuclear technology deal with India amid calls by the Bush administration not to dilute the pact and pleas from the non-proliferation community that the agreement in its current form will kill the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

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