Envoys positive on Chinese draft at N. Korea talks
Delegates attending six-party talks on the North Korea nuclear crisis broke for the day yesterday, and the chief US negotiator was cautiously optimistic that a Chinese draft could produce progress.
The fifth day of the negotiating round began with China presenting a draft document for discussion by the group, which also includes the two Koreas, Russia and Japan.
US chief negotiator Christopher Hill said late yesterday the delegations would meet again to try to "build a final text".
The main protagonists, the Americans and the North Koreans, appeared as entrenched as ever, diplomats said. Pyongyang is sticking to its demands for security guarantees and aid in return for abandoning its nuclear weapons development, while Washington insists the atomic programmes be dismantled first.
The North is also demanding Washington remove nuclear weapons from the peninsula. The United States, which keeps some 30,000 troops in South Korea, says it no longer has such weapons there.
The North had even rejected a South Korean offer of energy aid in exchange for scrapping the programmes, the JoongAng daily said, citing an official in Seoul. North Korea wanted the energy aid but it wanted light-water nuclear reactors too, it said, to dismantle all its nuclear activities, including the HEU programme.