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Nuclear Talks End in Beijing - 2003-04-27


The United States, North Korea and China have ended three days of talks in Beijing focusing on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. Chinese officials say all three countries agreed to keep channels open. It does not appear the meetings made any progress on defusing tensions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, put a positive spin on the three-way talks in Beijing.

"All participating parties considered the Beijing talks a good beginning of a process leading to the settlement of the North Korea nuclear issue," Mr. Liu said.

But a North Korean statement blasted the United States for ignoring what it called a "bold new proposal" from Pyongyang. The statement provided no details of the so-called proposal.

Neither China nor North Korea mentioned U.S. assertions that Pyongyang's representative, Li Gun, told U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly that his country has developed nuclear weapons.

U.S. diplomats in Beijing would not comment on the content of the meetings. Mr. Kelly, who has made clear the U.S. goal is a permanent dismantling of North Korea's nuclear capabilities, is consulting with officials in Seoul and Tokyo over the next few days.

The talks in Beijing were the first between Washington and Pyongyang since October when the United States said Pyongyang admitted it was developing nuclear weapons in secret.

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