Environmental News Archive

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N Korea Wants The Moon For Its Nukes

12 Feb 2007 (TODAY)

BEIJING - Negotiators hoping to persuade North Korea to give up its
nuclear weapons met into the evening yesterday, trying to break a logjam
blamed on Pyongyang's "excessive" demands for incentives.

The latest round of six-party talks - which also includes the United
States, Russia, Japan, South Korea and hosts China - began on Thursday
amid optimism that a deal could be reached on a draft accord drawn up by

The plan calls for Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions in return
for energy assistance and other incentives, but has snagged on what
Japan's envoy, Mr Kenichiro Sasae, has called "excessive" demands for
energy aid by North Korea.

North Korea, apparently emboldened by its detonation last October of a
nuclear device, has demanded two million tonnes of fuel oil and other
inducements, the Japanese press reported. That would be four times as much
fuel oil as offered under a now-defunct 1994 disarmament deal.

However, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper yesterday said the logjam was due to US
"betrayal", saying Washington was not honouring pledges it made earlier to
give energy incentives and lift its financial sanctions on the communist

US envoy Christopher Hill expressed optimism on Sunday, saying it was
"just one issue" that was being disputed. He was untroubled enough to take
in a tour of China's National Art Gallery between nuclear meetings.

Mr Hill's was a lone voice of optimism, however.

Besides the Japan envoy's comments, the South Korean and Russian delegates
also expressed doubt that a breakthrough could be achieved to save the
Chinese-drafted deal.

Meanwhile, the flamboyant eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il
arrived in Beijing yesterday from Macau, piquing the interest of experts.

Reports last month said the 35-year-old Mr Kim has been living in Macau
after he fell out of favour with his father when he was caught travelling
on a forged passport as he tried to enter Japan to visit Tokyo Disneyland
in 2001. - Agencies