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North Korea Nuclear Disarmament Talks Near End

The North Korean nuclear disarmament talks closed Saturday with widespread reports suggesting the Chinese hosts will announce a recess Sunday morning, temporarily ending the negotiations. Diplomats say the talks are deadlocked over North Korea's refusal to dismantle all of its nuclear programs.

After twelve days of intense negotiations the six-party talks will reportedly be put on hold.

Japan's chief envoy, Kenichiro Sasae told reporters Saturday night the delegates would meet again Sunday but he confirmed reports the parties have discussed a possible recess.

The top U.S. envoy, Chris Hill said the Chinese hosts will make an announcement Sunday morning, but declined to provide further details.

When asked if the talks were headed into a recess Mr. Hill would only say the United States remains committed to ending the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

"This is not easy but the U.S. government is absolutely dedicated to finding a solution to this," said Mr. Hill.

North Korea has resisted demands it give up all its nuclear programs saying it has a right to conduct "peaceful nuclear activities."

Friday, Mr. Hill said if the talks failed to overcome the impasse a recess was one option under consideration.

"The idea would be we'd take some time and the delegations go back to their capitals, talk to some people, come back and solve the problem," he added. "What you don't want to do, though, is have a recess and then have the progress you've made -- and I want to assure you there has been progress in this -- and you don't want that progress to slip away."

The nuclear crisis started in 2002, after the United States claimed North Korea's Stalinist government was running a secret uranium enrichment program.

This is the fourth, and longest, round of talks so far. The previous three rounds of talks failed to end the nuclear standoff.