Hill hopeful on N. Korea nuclear talks

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Although the latest North Korean denuclearization talks hit an impasse, the chief U.S. negotiator says they could resume before President Bush leaves office.

Addressing a news conference in Washington Tuesday, Christopher Hill said the latest round of six-nation talks in Beijing ended in a stalemate, CNN reported.


"Is it possible to do in the next week or the next four weeks? I don't know," Hill said. "I would think it would be possible to do today, if they agreed to do it."

The Beijing talks among the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas collapsed over the issue of the verification of North Korea's nuclear arsenal after the Communist country refused given an agreement in writing what their officials had earlier agreed to verbally.

Hill was quoted as saying the unresolved issue came down to what would have been a half-page text on the terms of various procedures and activities.

"They don't want to do a verification protocol now," he said. "And whether it is because they are waiting for the next administration, whether it's just because they don't want to do it now ... you'll have to ask the North Koreans."

Hill said the North Koreans would be misreading the United States if they hoped to get better terms from the new administration.

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