The latest round of North Korean nuclear talks are entering a fifth - and what may be the final day - in Beijing. As VOA Correspondent Kurt Achin reports from the Chinese capital, there is little hope of progress.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill says it is not likely this week's six-nation talks on North Korean nuclear disarmament will be extended beyond Friday.
"I don't want to predict what happens if there's no progress this week, but I do plan to leave on Saturday," he said.
The United States, Japan, Russia, China and South Korea are holding their sixth formal meeting in three years to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear programs in exchange for diplomatic and financial benefits.
North Korea - also called the DPRK - promised in principle to disarm in 2005. But it has refused to negotiate implementation until the U.S. lifts financial sanctions imposed last year for North Korea's alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.
Hill says it is his job to discuss weapons, not financial issues - and says the five partner nations have worked hard to develop concrete proposals on how to move ahead with North Korean disarmament. "But you know, it's not going to work if the DPRK doesn't get the job done," he said.
North Korea only agreed to return to talks this year after it conducted its first-ever nuclear test on October 9.
Japan's envoy, Kenichiro Sasae has said he does not expect a breakthrough now.
Hill has declined to comment on whether more six-party talks will be scheduled.