U.S.: No sign N. Korea meeting terms for nuke talks
The United States says it has seen no signs yet that North Korea is prepared to meet conditions for resuming multinational talks on nuclear disarmament.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland made the comments Tuesday ahead of consultations between U.S. officials and South Korea’s nuclear envoy.
Wi Sung-lac is due to arrive in Washington on Wednesday. He will meet with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and the U.S. envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il reportedly has suggested a moratorium on its nuclear testing and production if talks resume. The U.S. wants such steps before negotiations can begin.
The U.S. and South Korea have held exploratory talks and offered limited flood aid to the North in recent weeks.
Disaster aid boosted by Democrats
Senate Democrats unveiled legislation Tuesday providing $6 billion in new disaster aid to help both victims of Hurricane Irene and past disasters dating to Hurricane Katrina.
A Senate Appropriations panel responsible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budget approved the measure by voice vote.
At the same time, the measure’s author said that with FEMA’s disaster aid coffers running dangerously low, it may be necessary to add additional, more immediate disaster aid to a stopgap funding bill that’s expected to be enacted before the FEMA funding measure.
The moves in the Democrat-led body could spark a battle with tea party-backed House Republicans, who say that Congress should cut federal spending elsewhere to pay for disaster aid.
The $6 billion in disaster relief is for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 and is $4.2 billion above President Obama’s February request of $1.8 billion.
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