US: NKorea can disable nuclear facilities by '08

The US insisted Friday that North Korea could disable its nuclear facilities by the end of the year, even as negotiators were set to end arms talks without a firm commitment from Pyongyang to do so. Top envoys at the nuclear negotiations headed to see Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Host China is expected to issue a statement summing up the meeting later Friday, at the close of the three-day talks. That statement will not include any set deadline for the next steps in preventing the North from making more atomic bombs, following the shutdown of its sole operating nuclear reactor last Saturday. Instead, the negotiators only were able to agree to schedule meetings for working groups to discuss technical details of the North's declaration of its nuclear programs and how to disable the facilities by the end of August, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said.