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North Korea Says Progress Made At Nuclear Talks

North Korea's Kim (right) said some points have been agreed (file photo) (epa) February 9, 2007 -- North Korea's chief nuclear envoy says delegates have reached agreement on some points of a Chinese-backed draft aimed at ending the standoff over the North's nuclear program.

Kim Kye Gwan made the comments after meeting with the U.S. envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, on the sidelines of six-country talks in Beijing, which are continuing today. Kim said North Korea was working to reach a compromise.

But Hill said differences remained among the delegates representing North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, and Russia. He called for accelerated efforts toward an agreement.

"We'd like to pick up the pace. I mean we've gone eighteen months without anything and so we have to pick up the pace," he said. "And that's why these negotiations are so important. We need to get something done, we need to get something done on the ground."

The draft agreement would reportedly offer North Korea energy aid in exchange for abandoning its nuclear weapons program and agreeing to UN nuclear inspections. North Korea has also demanded an end to U.S. economic sanctions against it.

(dpa, AFP, Reuters)