US, N. Korea seek action to match words
The United States and North Korea each insisted the other must offer more to overcome a standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons as the latest session of multiparty disarmament talks ended in Beijing on Friday.
A North Korean offer to freeze but not dismantle its nuclear programs in return for a compensation package was unacceptable, the chief U.S. negotiator at the talks, Christopher Hill, told reporters on Friday.
"Our view is that stopping their programs is simply something they have to do," Hill said. "We don't want to get into a situation where they stop the programs -- in short freeze the programs -- and then expect compensation over a freeze."
But Pyongyang wants the U.S. to give concessions at the same time as any disarmament moves from North Korea, the North's chief negotiator, Kim Kye-gwan, told reporters in Beijing. "The important thing is to take simultaneous actions," he said. He said North Korea favored "step-by-step measures."
The comments from the two sides underscored how far they remain apart as the fifth round of so-called six-party talks, also involving South Korea, Japan, Russia and host China, broke off on Friday.
In a breakthrough deal agreed to in September, North Korea said it would disarm in exchange for aid and security guarantees. It is also demanding a light-water reactor for civil use.
But Hill said on Friday that any full agreement depended on North Korea shutting downs its nuclear activities and accounting for its nuclear stockpiles, including uranium enrichment activities that Pyongyang has never formally acknowledged.