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Breakthrough Comes in North Korea Nuclear Talks

Negotiators in Beijing have reached a draft agreement on steps to end North Korea's nuclear program. If approved by the six nations in the talks, the deal would mark the first disarmament measures in three years of talks with the North Koreans.

"I'm encouraged by this," said Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the lead U.S. negotiator, "that we were able to take a step forward on the denuclearization issue."

The apparent breakthrough came in a marathon late-night session that ended after 2 a.m.


It is pending approval by the participants' governments.

The talks, which have gone on for five days, had become bogged down by new demands made by North Korea that the country receive energy assistance and other aid.

While the details of the deal have not yet been announced, it is widely known that the Bush administration wants to move ahead quickly to keep North Korea from developing a nuclear arsenal.

The most recent U.S. plans have called for irreversible and verifiable disarmament.

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