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By Samuel R. Avro on Nov 24, 2008 with no responses

New Talks Set in China on N. Korea’s Nuclear Program

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Six nations will meet in China on Dec. 8 for a new round of negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear program, U. S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday.

The goal for the U. S., Japan, South Korea, China and Russia is to get agreement on verification of North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, Rice told reporters returning from Peru with President Bush aboard Air Force One. Bush is trying to lock in the six-party process before his term expires in January.

The North Koreans took 30 years to get a nuclear weapons program, Rice said. “I think it might take more than a couple to unravel it.”

The U. S. is seeking a pledge from North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program and assurance that a verification program will be put in place. Earlier negotiations stalled when North Korea indicated on Nov. 12 that international inspectors wouldn’t be allowed to remove samples from its Yongbyon reactor, saying that it had never agreed to do so.

Bush met with leaders of the other nations putting pressure on North Korea while at the just-concluded summit of Asia- Pacific leaders in Lima and pressed them to get back to the negotiating table.

Japan, China and South Korea supported continuing the negotiations in order to demonstrate their value to Presidentelect Barack Obama, according to Dennis Wilder, the National Security Council director for Asia.

Pacific Rim nations assured the world Sunday in Peru that the global financial crisis can be quelled in 18 months, but provided few details of how they expect that to happen — or how their governments can help.

The 21 economies, which represent more than half of the world’s productive power, also pledged during a two-day summit not to erect new protectionist barriers for the next year, and to jump-start stalled World Trade Organization talks.

The main accomplishment of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum was a widening of support for the Washington Declaration made last weekend by major economies that pledged to maintain free trade despite pressures to protect domestic industries.

The leaders voiced confidence that the crisis could be resolved by mid-2010, though they did not go much beyond the steps outlined in the Group of 20 summit in Washington.

“We are convinced that we can overcome this crisis in a period of 18 months,” the leaders said in a statement. “We have already taken urgent and extraordinary steps to stabilize our financial sectors and strengthen economic growth.”

The reassuring words were added early Sunday to a declaration the leaders had signed off on the previous day. Delegates from several countries said the changes were made overnight at the request of the summit’s host, Peruvian President Alan Garcia.

The Buffalo News