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Nokor Nuke Talks Wind Down Without Much Progress - 2004-02-28


Six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program are due to end today (Saturday) in Beijing -- but participants report little progress has been made.

Japanese and South Korean diplomats said Friday the parties will issue some kind of joint statement, but they say the only agreement was to form working groups to continue the discussions.

A Chinese delegate said there are differences, difficulties and contradictions among the participants. He said that is why the talks should continue.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters that although the talks got bogged down, the gap between the various sides is being narrowed.

China, Japan, North and South Korea, the United States and Russia are taking part in the Beijing talks.

A previous round of talks in Beijing on the same issue was held last year without results.

Pyongyang has offered to freeze its nuclear programs in exchange for economic compensation and security guarantees. The United States is demanding North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear programs.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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