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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 2 April, 2003, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
UN to debate North Korea
North Korean guards glimpsed on the border
North Korea's secretive moves are to come under the spotlight

The United Nations Security Council is to debate the North Korean nuclear crisis for the first time next week.

It announced the 9 April date on Wednesday after weeks of lobbying by the United States and resistance by China, another key member of the Council.

Members of the 15-strong body hammered out the decision at a four-hour closed session in New York.

"We have decided we would have consultations, but I don't know what will be accomplished," the Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Wang Yingfan, said after the meeting.

For the US, Ambassador John Negroponte confirmed that "consultations" would be held in a week's time.

"You'll just have to wait to see the outcome," he told reporters.

America and its regional allies are concerned at the security implications of Pyongyang's recent re-launch of its nuclear programme.

China has been calling on Washington to hold direct talks with the North.

North Korea has been engaged in a stand-off over its nuclear ambitions since it reactivated its nuclear plant at Yongbyon and pulled out of the global nuclear arms control treaty.

Little headway has been made in efforts to get Pyongyang to take part in talks to resolve the six-month-old crisis.

The North has also tested two missiles in recent months, raising fears it is about to end its moratorium on longer-range, ballistic missile tests.

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