Japan: N. Korea must halt nuclear site activity

Japan demanded Thursday that North Korea freeze operations at its main nuclear reactor and accept international inspections as a first step toward disarmament. "These initial steps must come within a reasonably short period of time," Japanese envoy Kenichiro Sasae said in his opening statement to the six-nation talks in Beijing, according to a statement released by his delegation. Earlier Thursday, the North's negotiator Kim Kye Gwan said upon his arrival that Pyongyang was ready to discuss "first-stage measures" of its disarmament.