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No Breakthroughs at N. Korean Nuclear Talks - 2003-08-28

Delegates at six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear crisis have wrapped up a second day of talks in Beijing. Negotiators spent much of the second day of talks Thursday meeting in smaller groups.

As expected, no breakthroughs were reported on the second of three days of negotiations behind closed doors.

The talks, which center on demands for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program, bring together representatives of the host country, China, as well as the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.

North Korea on Thursday held discussions with Japan on the sidelines of the negotiations and, according to some diplomats was expected to do the same with Russia.

Japan said it repeated its demands for Pyongyang to do away with its nuclear program, and also expressed concern over North Korea's development of long-range missiles, which can reach Japan.

Japanese delegation chief Mitoji Yabunaka says he expressed Japan's stance at the table. He says it is important to resolve the nuclear and missile issues.

Japanese officials also pressed the North Koreans for more information on the kidnapping of several Japanese nationals by North Korean agents during the Cold War. Tokyo wants Pyongyang to allow the families of some of those abducted to go to Japan.

Russia was scheduled to meet with the American delegation, and an official statement said trilateral talks were also expected.

The United States held informal talks with North Korea on Wednesday on the sidelines of the negotiations. U.S. officials, however, on Thursday said there would be no further direct talks with the North Korean delegation.

Diplomats went into this week's talks predicting slow progress and no major breakthroughs. Many say that if these negotiations end with an agreement Friday to hold more discussions, that alone will be considered a success.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency on Thursday quoted an unidentified South Korean official as saying there was a "high possibility" a second round of six-way talks on the North Korean issue could take place in Beijing in October.