BEIJING (AP) – Envoys to deadlocked North Korean nuclear talks will take a recess, the Chinese government announced today after a record 13 days of meetings failed to bring agreement on a joint statement meant to guide future negotiations. The talks were scheduled to resume Aug. 29.

A senior Chinese diplomat, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, warned that even after talks resume, “I can’t say for sure that we will reach agreement.”

The decision was announced after chiefs of delegations from the six governments met today in a final attempt to agree on a joint statement of principles to guide future talks aimed at persuading North Korea to disarm.

Wu announced the suspension to reporters gathered on the lawn outside the building where the talks took place.

Governments taking part in the talks include the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

“During the recess, the six parties will report to their respective governments and study ways to solve the differences. And they are supposed to maintain contact and consultations during that recess,” Wu said.

Wu also issued a chairman’s statement that said the six parties “reaffirmed that the goal of the six-party talks is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and agreed to issue a common paper to this end.”

U.S. envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill had said he hoped to use the meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, to discuss how to speed up negotiations.

The dispute erupted in late 2002 after U.S. officials said the North admitted violating a 1994 deal by embarking on a secret uranium enrichment program. Pyongyang later withdrew from the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The North claimed in February that it had nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang says it will not give up such weapons until Washington discards its “hostile policies” toward the North, removes any nuclear threat from the Korean Peninsula and normalizes relations with the country’s Stalinist government.

The North also wants aid in exchange for freezing nuclear development, and then more for dismantling the program. Washington wants to see it verifiably dismantled before providing any rewards.


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