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NKorea talks in China set for December 8: Rice

Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Aboard Air Force One (AFP) Nov 23, 2008
The next meeting of the six-party talks seeking agreement on North Korea's nuclear disarmament will be held next month in China, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters Sunday.

En route from the Asia-Pacific Cooperation summit in Lima, Rice said the meeting would be held December 8 in China.

"The goal is to get agreement ... on North Korea's nuclear disarmament," she said.

Asked if there was any disappointment with the pace of progress on North Korea's nuclear program as George W. Bush's presidency's nears its end, Rice said "the North Koreans took more than 30 years to get (a nuclear program).

"I think it might take more than a couple to unravel it."

With two months left in office, Bush has held out hope of a late diplomatic triumph on North Korea, a country he once branded as part of an "axis of evil," but since has offered aid and other incentives to disarm.

Bush discussed North Korea during his first summit with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, who took office in September, and a three-way meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak at the regional forum in Peru.

Nations involved in six-party talks -- China, Japan, the United States, Russia, and the two Koreas -- have yet to endorse a plan for the hardline communist state to fully verify its nuclear record.

The US leader last month removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, saying Pyongyang had agreed to steps to show its denuclearization under a six-nation aid-for-disarmament pact.

Japan, meanwhile, has taken the hardest line in the six-nation talks.

It has refused to give aid to North Korea until it knows more about the fate of abduction victims and was sharply critical of Bush's decision to take the North off a terrorism blacklist with the matter still open.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il has admitted his regime kidnapped Japanese nationals to train its spies and in 2002 allowed five to return, but Japan insists other abductees are alive and unaccounted for.

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North Korea Remains Calm And Stable As Kim Wastes Away
Moscow (UPI) Nov 14, 2008
The global media have been discussing the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il since September, after he failed to show up at several important official events, including celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. This sparked rumors of illness and a possible stroke.

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