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Hill: Six-Party Talks to End Friday
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Christopher Hill, top US negotiator to the six-party talks on Korean nuke issue, said Thursday evening that the second phase of the talks will end on Friday.

Hill said the US delegation will hold another one-on-one meeting with the delegation of the North Korea on Friday and leave Beijing on Saturday morning.

As the United States and the North Korea delegations met for several times on Thursday, Hill described Thursday as a "long and difficult day".

"Today was not a day when we registered much progress," said Hill, hoping to make more progress so "we have to see whether tomorrow will be a better day."

Hill urged North Korea to engage in discussions on the denuclearization and implementation of the joint statement struck in September 2005, instead of financial issues. Under the joint statement, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.

"It is not the time for them (the North Korea) to talk financial issues," Hill told reporters at the hotel.

He said he knew North Korea was interested in BDA, short for Banco Delta Asia, a Macao-based bank, "but we prefer them to have an even greater interest in denuclearization."

Hill said North Korean delegates have had strict instructions from their capital that they can not engage officially on the subject of the six-party talks until they have the BDA issue resolved."

"I have made very clear I am not a BDA negotiator," Hill said.

The ongoing talks focus on the implementation of the joint statement, Financial sanction imposed on North Korea, however, was one of the key stumbling blocks that had stalled the six-party talks for the past 13 months.

The talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue involving China, North Korea, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia resumed on Monday.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2006)

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