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U.S.-N. Korea Talks Make Progress

December 11, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States and North Korea made progress during six days of talks on U.S. concerns about an underground site suspected of being used for development of nuclear weapons, the State Department said Friday.

Spokesman James Foley said the two sides agreed to meet again as soon as possible.

The U.S. side has been demanding access to the site and says it may renounce a 1994 nuclear agreement with North Korea unless that country can allay U.S. suspicions that the site is a headquarters for a nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has denied that the site, located 25 miles northeast of the country’s main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, is being used for a military purpose. It has demanded $300 million from the United States in exchange for access to the site.

Over the past week, the two sides met for two days in Washington and for four in New York. Until Friday, the State Department had declined to characterize the discussions.

``Although gaps remain, the parties approached the issues in a problem-solving manner,″ Foley said. ``The two sides recognized that progress was made and agreed to meet again as soon as possible at a venue and date to be determined.″

Foley said the talks were held in a serious atmosphere.

``The U.S. continued to require the complete resolution of our concerns regarding North Korea’s suspect underground construction and has made clear this will require access,″ he said.

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