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North Korea Nuclear Talks Head to Recess With No Breakthroughs


North Korean nuclear disarmament talks are set to recess with delegates saying the negotiators have yet to come up with a plan on how Pyongyang should begin dismantling its nuclear programs.

The talks are due to wrap up Friday after three days, a length of time that U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill says is too short to yield any major accomplishment.

"The three-day session was really too soon and too short a time to be working out a complete implementation plan," said Mr. Hill. "But I hope that at our next session, that is the second session of this fifth round, we will be able to make some progress."

Delegates from China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia, and the United States are trying to decide how to begin implementing September's joint set of principles in which North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

The United States on Thursday said North Korea must immediately stop operating a nuclear reactor that could be turning out weapons-grade plutonium.

This is the fifth round of six-nation negotiations since 2003. The crisis flared in 2002 when the United States said North Korea had admitted having a secret nuclear weapons program in violation of international agreements.

North Korea used the meetings Thursday to protest U.S. sanctions imposed last month on North Korean business entities that Washington accuses of participating in crimes such as the sale of banned weapons technology and money laundering.

Mr. Hill says he told the North Korean delegates their complaints on the matter were not a subject for discussion at the six-party talks.

"They made it clear that they are not happy, but I made it clear that I do not do financial sector regulations," he added.

This session of talks has been kept short because most of the participating nations will take part in next week's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in South Korea.

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