Efforts to lure N. Korea back into talks stalled

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December 15, 2005 04:16
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South Korea's efforts to lure North Korea back to international talks on its nuclear weapons program appeared to make little headway as officials from the two countries began their second full day of high-level discussions Thursday. South Korea continued to urge an early resumption of the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, but "the North holds a position that the lack of progress is due to the US hostile policy" toward it, South Korean spokesman Kim Chun-sig said. Prospects for a resolution of the nuclear dispute have dimmed since the latest row between the North and Washington over US financial sanctions against the communist nation for alleged illicit activities, including money laundering and counterfeiting. North Korea threatened last week to boycott the disarmament talks - involving the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas - until Washington lifts the sanctions, which the North claims are based on "sheer lies." The conflict has stalled implementation of a breakthrough Sept. 19 agreement in which the North agreed to give up its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

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