US, North Korea end talks without agreement

US and North Korean envoys ended talks on Wednesday failing to reach an agreement on when to resume six-nation talks on dismantling Pyongyang's atomic weapons program. US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters that after two days of talks with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, he planned to leave Beijing on Thursday without a follow-up meeting. A US Embassy statement said that Hill's delegation "shared ideas that could help ensure progress when the six-party talks resume," without elaborating. "The DPRK promised to study these ideas," the statement said referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name. Hill and Kim also met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei during the talks Tuesday and Wednesday. The heads of delegations from the three countries met bilaterally and trilaterally, China's Foreign Ministry said in a two-sentence statement posted on its Web site late Wednesday. They "frankly and deeply exchanged views on the issue of promoting the process of the six-party talks and improve mutual understanding," it said without elaborating. "The three parties also agreed to strive for the progress of the talks." Hill, who had been scheduled to fly to Seoul after Beijing, canceled the trip, said Susan Stevenson, spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Beijing. She did not give a reason, but said Hill now planned to leave Thursday for Washington with a possible stopover in Japan.