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North Korean Nuclear Talks Continue

3 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- China says it will submit a fresh draft on a "statement of principles" today at talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program being held in Beijing.

Little if any progress has been reported over the first eight days of talks involving negotiators from the United States, Russia, Japan, the two Koreas, and China.

The top U.S. negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, told journalists in Beijing today that North Korea now can decide about its future.

"In a very real sense, [North Korea] does, indeed, stand at a crossroads and they can look forward to a brighter future, they can look forward to a more secure future, a more prosperous future, but they can't do it with nuclear weapons," Hill said.

It has been the longest of four rounds of negotiations since the crisis began nearly three years ago.

One of the major stumbling blocks according to correspondents is that North Korea objects to a U.S. demand that Pyongyang first end its nuclear program before any aid is given.

(compiled from agency reports)