Sat, Feb 21, 2004 - Page 5 News List

US again demands N Korea abandon nukes

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , WASHINGTON

The talks are sponsored by China and also include South Korea, Japan and Russia.

US and Asian diplomats say that the planning for the talks next week have been difficult, in part because of disagreements between the US and two partners, China and South Korea.

The negotiations have largely focused, so far, on North Korea's decades-old program to produce nuclear weapons by extracting plutonium from spent fuel from its nuclear reactors. North Korea not only has acknowledged that program, but also has boasted about it, telling American visitors last month that it has finished reprocessing 8,000 fuel rods into bomb-grade plutonium. That is enough to make about six weapons.

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