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    South Says New Talks on North Korean Nukes Not Likely Soon

    South Korea's top nuclear negotiator says this week's meetings in Tokyo are not likely to revive stalled multi-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs.

    South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Chun Young-woo dampened any expectations that North Korea would rejoin stalled six party talks on ending its nuclear programs this week.

    All six nations that are party to the talks are attending a private security forum in Tokyo this week.

    But Chun told reporters Sunday in Tokyo North Korea appears to be "agonizing" but has not decided to end its latest talks boycott.

    He says it is not likely that U.S. and North Korean officials will meet on the sidelines of the forum to end the stalemate.

    North Korea announced in November it would not return to the talks until the United States lifted new sanctions on North Korean companies involved in alleged money laundering, counterfeiting U.S. dollars and other alleged crimes.

    Washington says the nuclear issue is not linked to the sanctions and negotiations should continue.

    Diplomats from the United States, North and South Korea, Japan, China and Russia are discussing Northeast Asian security issues this week at the Tokyo conference, setting an opportunity for all parties to raise the nuclear issue.

    Saturday, North Korea's top negotiator Kim Kye Gwan raised hopes when he indicated Pyongyang might be willing to resume contacts to discuss six party talks, including a possible meeting with the U.S negotiator Christopher Hill.

    But South Korea's Chun says he detects nothing new that would break the stalemate.

    The talks, which began in 2003, have been plagued by intermittent North Korean boycotts and a lack of progress.

    The last round was held in Beijing in September, at which North Korea pledged in principle to abandon its nuclear programs.

    But North Korea and the United States remain at odds over the process.

    Washington wants North Korea to completely and verifiably dismantle all nuclear projects before giving any aid or other incentives.

    North Korea says it will not act first.

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