Talks on North Korea's nuclear program will resume in Beijing on Dec. 18, China announced Monday, as Japan demanded Pyongyang make progress toward abandoning atomic weapons.
A resumption would end North Korea's 13-month boycott of the talks in protest over US financial sanctions. Diplomats have been trying to set a date since the government of leader Kim Jong Il agreed to return after it tested a nuclear bomb on Oct. 9.
"The second phase of the fifth round of six-party talks is to be held on Dec. 18 in Beijing," said a one-sentence statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on the ministry Web site.
Participants in the talks are the two Koreas, the United States, host China, Japan and Russia.