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Six-party talks ends with chairman statement
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The six parties involved in the Korean Peninsula nuclear talks concluded their latest round of negotiations on Thursday, without registering substantive progress.

"The parties evaluated progress made towards an agreement on terms for verification," said a chairman's statement issued at the end of the talks.

How to verify the nuclear program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was the sticking point in the latest round of talks, which started on Monday.

After four days of intensive one-on-one meetings and plenary meetings, the six parties failed to reach an agreement on a verification draft, in which host China put together the views of all parties.

Under an agreement reached at the talks in February 2007, the DPRK agreed to abandon all nuclear weapons and programs. It also promised to declare all its nuclear programs and facilities by the end of 2007. In return, DPRK would get diplomatic and economic incentives.

"Through days of discussions, six parties came to some consensus, but remained apart on some issues," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in a meeting with six chief negotiators earlier Thursday.

Yang called for all parties to remain confident and patient, show wisdom and the utmost flexibility as a way of moving forward the talks.

The on-again-off-again talks were initiated in 2003 and aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The latest round of talks also dealt with how to fully implement the second-phase action plan prescribed in the 2007 agreement as well as how to put forward a northeast Asian peace and security guiding principles.

Russia circulated a revised draft of guiding principles on peace and security to other parties.

According to the chairman's statement, a working group meeting under the Russian chairmanship will be held in Moscow in February 2009 to further discuss the principles.

The Republic of Korea (ROK), as the chair, would convene a working group meeting at an appropriate time to coordinate the assistance to the DPRK.

The six parties also agreed to "convene the next meeting as soon as possible."

The parties encouraged sincere efforts by the DPRK and the U.S. as well as the DPRK and Japan toward normalizing their relations, said the statement.

(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2008)

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