Closing ceremony for talks on N Korea's nuke postponed

No explanation was given as to why the closing ceremony, scheduled to begin in Beijing at 11 am (local time) was postponed.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2004 18:32 IST

The closing ceremony for the second round of the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, scheduled to begin on Saturday morning, has been postponed due to "technical reasons", the state media reported.

No explanation was given as to why the closing ceremony, scheduled to begin at 11 am (local time) was postponed.

The news about the postponement was given by Xinhua news agency.

The closing ceremony was supposed to have ended four days of "in-depth" meetings and negotiations to find a peaceful way to denuclearise North Korea.

Earlier in the morning, the vice heads of six delegations started a meeting at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in central Beijing to consider a joint declaration which might cite the "progress" made during the talks here.

The document was said to contain an agreement on establishing a working group to handle technical and other matters related to the dispute as well as a rough schedule for the next meeting.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also the host of the second round of six-party talks involving China, the US, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Russia is scheduled to meet the press in the afternoon.

AFP adds: A last minute demand by North Korea for changes to the joint statement due to be issued at the conclusion to six-party talks has led to the postponement of the closing ceremony, sources said.

Sources close the talks told AFP North Korea was "doggedly insisting" on the insertion of an unspecified term into one of the points on the statement.

China Central Television said last minute talks among deputy chief delegates of the six nations were still going on.

First Published: Feb 28, 2004 10:10 IST