December 19, 2006

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From CNN: U.S., North Korea meet one-on-one.

Financial experts from the United States and North Korea met Tuesday to address Washington's campaign to isolate the North from the international banking system, the key stumbling block blamed for Pyongyang's 13-month boycott of nuclear talks.

The meeting came on the sidelines of six-nation arms talks that entered a second day Tuesday with discussions focused on the implementation of a disarmament pledge signed by the North last year. ...

The North staked out a tough position as the six-nation talks opened Monday, demanding a long list of previously stated preconditions for its disarmament such as the lifting of all U.N. sanctions and U.S. financial restrictions.

It repeated its assertion that it be considered a nuclear weapons power and that the talks be transformed into negotiations over mutual arms reductions in which it would be accorded equal footing with the United States. The North said it would increase its nuclear arsenal if its demands are not met.

The North also renewed its demand for a nuclear reactor for electricity.

The latest North Korean nuclear crisis erupted in 2002 after U.S. officials said the North had admitted having a secret nuclear program in violation of a 1994 disarmament deal, leading to the North's withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Posted by Forkum at December 19, 2006 04:43 PM