China: N. Korea nuclear talks to resume Dec. 18

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.