Japan: 6-party talks on N. Korea possible in 2006

North Korea's nuclear envoy said Thursday his country won't unilaterally abandon its atomic weapons program after two days of meetings with his US counterpart failed to produce a date on restarting six-nation disarmament talks. Later Thursday, Japan's envoy said the talks could still resume before the year's end. But speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Kenichiro Sasae - Japan's representative to the talks - said the timing for a new round would depend on what progress was made in preparatory talks. "The possibility that talks could resume (in December) cannot be denied. So long as there is a forward-looking prospect we can hold talks anytime," Sasae said after talks with US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who was passing through Tokyo on his way home from Beijing where he met with his Chinese and North Korean counterparts.