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Japan: Six-Party Talks Remain in 'Severe' Situation
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Japan's top negotiator Kenichiro Sasae said Thursday that the current situation of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue remained "severe," referring to the financial issue as the sticking point.


"The situation of the talks remains severe, and there is no prospect of breakthrough up to now," Sasae told reporters in the hotel.


North Korea "holds a very strong position on the financial issue, which is currently the biggest difficulty in the talks," Sasae said.


Financial sanction imposed on North Korea was one of the key stumbling blocks that had stalled the six-party talks for the past 13 months. The talks involving China, North and South Korea, the US, Japan and Russia resumed on Monday.


The purpose of the six-party talks is to realize denuclearization of Korean Peninsula, said Sasae, adding that North Korea should display positive gesture to meet the purpose and implement the September 19 statement.


The ongoing talks focus on the implementation of the joint statement in September 2005, under which North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.


(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2006)

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