After 10 days the North Korean nuclear disarmament talks have ground to a halt as the North Korean delegation is reportedly still refusing to compromise.
Despite 10 days of intense negotiations delegates confirmed Thursday night little progress has made to end the impasse.
The six-party talks, which include North and South Korea, the United States, Russia, Japan and China, are aimed at persuading Pyongyangs Stalinist government to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Christopher Hill, the top U.S. envoy to the talks, told reporters Thursday night the central issue remains verification.
"We cannot have a situation where the North Koreans pretend to abandon their nuclear weapons and we pretend to believe them," he said. "We need clarity on this issue and that's what is taking so much time."
China has taken the lead in drafting a joint statement that would provide the basic framework for resolving the standoff over North Korea's nuclear programs.
But there is growing speculation the talks will end without a formal agreement between the six parties.
Mr. Hill said Thursday North Korea is the lone holdout refusing to accept the latest Chinese proposal.
Thursday, the Chinese delegations spokesman, Qin Gang told reporters the parties would work again Friday to bridge their differences. But he said a joint declaration should not be considered the only standard by which the talks are judged.
He says progress has already been made. He says the talks have lasted 10 days and have helped build mutual respect and understanding.
But after another day without progress, Mr. Hill, who said the talks were clearly nearing their end, sounded less enthusiastic.
"You have to judge these things by the results and frankly there haven't been any results," he said.
Three rounds of previous talks failed to resolve the conflict, which erupted in 2002 after North Korea said it had broken an earlier agreement on halting its nuclear development programs.