The six-party talks in Beijing entered their 11th day on Friday without producing any tangible results. A South Korean government official said Friday that the talks are likely to continue into the next week.
U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill said the talks had surely reached their final stage, but there were still real differences in each party’s position. The United States and North Korea continued their dispute over the right to “peaceful nuclear activities” and the extent to which North Korea would abandon its nuclear programs.
The U.S. State Department said, “North Korea should clearly and exactly state what they are going to abandon in the six-party denuclearization agreement... We cannot have a situation where North Korea pretends to abandon their nuclear program and we pretend to believe them.”
Meanwhile, South Korea’s chief delegate Song Min-soon said, “There may be a time for ambiguity when it is impossible to reach an agreement in a clear way, but I cannot say now is such a time.” This seemed to mean that he could ask the United States for some concessions, reports Chosunilbo.
U.S. envoy Christopher Hill indicated Friday this was not an option, as North Korea has already proven it will use nuclear energy facilities to produce weapons' grade materials.
Mr. Hill told reporters that any final agreement would have to include a complete end to North Korea's nuclear programs.
“We cannot have a situation where the DPRK [North Korea] pretends to abandon its nuclear weapons, and we pretend to believe them,” he said. “We need to have a situation where we know precisely what they have agreed to do, what they have agreed to abandon.”
Host China is working to find common ground, and has proposed four draft statements on what has been agreed. North Korea reportedly has been the only country not to accept the draft.
Mr. Hill and other envoys from Japan, Russia and South Korea believe the talks are nearing an end with or without an agreement, inform VOA.