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Negotiators fail to set deadlines
BEIJING — Arms negotiators failed to agree on a deadline for North Korea to disable its nuclear facilities, the United States said yesterday, casting doubt on when Pyongyang will proceed with its promised disarmament after shuttering its sole operating reactor.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher R. Hill entered the six-nation talks this week saying he hoped to get a commitment from the North to declare its nuclear programs and disable them by year’s end, rendering the communist nation unable to easily make more bombs.
But on the eve of the talks’ end today, he said the sides had agreed to have working groups of specialists pore over technical details for those next steps before the top envoys from all sides endorse a time frame. The working groups likely will meet by the end of August, he said.
Victims urge review of nuke plant safety
TOKYO — Survivors of the world’s only atomic attacks called yesterday on Japan to review the safety of nuclear plants after a powerful earthquake caused radioactive leakage.
“Even if the leakage was very small, this is not permissible after an earthquake,” said Gensuikin, a group representing victims of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Japan has been sensitive about nuclear issues due to the U.S. atomic attacks at the end of World War II, which killed more than 210,000 people instantly. Tens of thousands later died from radiation and horrific burns.
But Japan's government has embraced atomic energy. Despite being one of the most earthquake-prone nations, the world’s second-largest economy has virtually no oil or gas resources.
Hu urges greater efforts on Darfur
BEIJING — Chinese President Hu Jintao urged the global community yesterday to push forward the peace process in Darfur, state press reported, ahead of a U.N. vote expected this week on deploying peacekeepers in Sudan’s western province.
“The international community should seize the current favorable moment to push forward in a balanced way peacekeeping operations and the political process,” Xinhua news agency quoted Mr. Hu as saying.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
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