Representatives of five nations have resumed efforts to persaude North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms programme. South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia have gathered in Beijing for talks with Pyongyang. American envoy Christopher Hill said: “I hope that (North Korea) understands that, as the rest of us do, that we really are reaching a fork in the road. We can either go forward on a diplomatic track or you have to go to a much more difficult track and that is a track that involves sanctions.”
The negotiations come after North Korea carried out its first nuclear test explosion in October. Ahead of the discussions North Korea’s negotiator showed no signs of softening his stance: “As long as we need a deterrent we don’t have any reason to abandon it.” He added that the lifting of sanctions would have to be a priority.
The UN Security Council imposed an arms trade embargo on the hardline and impoverished communist state in response to October’s nuclear test. Analyst are holding out little hope for a major breakthrough in the latest talks