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Talks Resume in Beijing on Ending North Korean Nuclear Weapons Program

A new round of the on-again, off-again talks aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program has begun in Beijing after a 13-month hiatus. Roger Wilkison reports from Beijing that China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the United States are trying to determine whether North Korea really is prepared to negotiate following its nuclear test in October.

The purpose of these talks is to get North Korea to implement a written pledge it made in September 2005 to abandon nuclear weapons in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

But that was before the North tested a nuclear device last October, and Pyongyang now says it wants to be considered a nuclear power.

U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill says the international community will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state. "If they want a future with us, if they want to work with us, if they want to be a member of the international community, they are going to have to get out of this nuclear business."

North Korea boycotted the talks for more than a year because of financial sanctions Washington imposed on a Macau bank, which it alleges helped Pyongyang with counterfeiting and money laundering. It is not clear how seriously North Korea will negotiate until those sanctions are dropped.