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US attempts to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons bring results

The United States' No. 2 diplomat acknowledged that international efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons "are beginning to yield fruit." John Negroponte also urged China and India to use their influence to push for change in military-run Myanmar.

In wide-ranging comments at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, Negroponte repeated the U.S. desire for China to be more open about its massive military spending, saying a lack of transparency could spark suspicion and misunderstanding.

"We are concerned that China is spending for defense at a rate that is even faster than its economic growth rate," he said. "We need greater transparency as to what it is they're doing, what their plans and intentions are."

He praised China for its cooperation with the U.S. on six-nation North Korean nuclear talks but said much work remains before the Korean peninsula is nuclear free.

"Dealing with the North Koreans is never easy, and we do not have any false expectations," he said. But, he added, "we are pursuing this with urgency and prudence, and I believe that we are on the right path."

Under a February deal, North Korea would abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for oil aid and political concessions. The North has agreed to disable its main nuclear facilities and declare all its programs by the end of this year.

Negroponte also called on China and India to use their economic and diplomatic influence with the generals who govern Myanmar to push for change in that country, which recently saw a violent government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

"Now is the time for Beijing and New Delhi to forgo energy deals that put money in the pockets of the junta and to suspend weapons sales to this regime," he said.