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U.S., North Korea Deadlocked Again Over Nuclear Program

20 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. government said today it will not talk about providing North Korea with a light-water nuclear reactor until Pyongyang eliminates its nuclear weapons program.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President George W. Bush spoke by telephone with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. He said both leaders agree that verification that North Korea has abandoned its nuclear-weapons program is needed before any agreement on other issues.

North Korea today insisted it will not dismantle its nuclear-weapons program until the United States provides a civilian nuclear reactor.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency carried a statement from the Foreign Ministry that said the "U.S. should not even dream of the issue of North Korea's dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent" before the North receives a light-water reactor.

Six-party talks ended yesterday in Beijing with a pledge by North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and other nuclear programs and return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.