Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

US to 'rethink' N Korea strategy

Delegates at the six party talks in Beijing, China (11/12/2008)
US envoy Christopher Hill said the talks in Beijing had had ambitious goals

Washington has said it will "rethink" its handling of N Korea, following the failure of the latest talks aimed at ending the country's nuclear programme.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Pyongyang had missed an "open door" and the US could now reconsider its "action-for-action" strategy.

But US officials told the BBC they would be briefed by the US envoy to the country before making any decisions.

The talks stalled over verification procedures for nuclear material.

North Korea had agreed in principle that it would receive fuel and other aid in exchange for dismantling its nuclear programme.


The US envoy to the talks, Christopher Hill, said the delegates meeting in Beijing had had some very ambitious plans but had been unable to complete some of their goals.

Mr Hill said there had been "a lot of agreement among a majority of the delegations" but that ultimately, North Korea was "not ready really to reach a verification protocol with all the standards that are required".

Ms Perino said it was "unfortunate" that Pyongyang had decided not to work with the other delegates and put into writing what they had agreed verbally.

"There was an open door, and all they had to do was walk through it, because five of the members of the six-party talks had all agreed on a verification protocol," she said.

Ms Perino said it was too early to say what action the US would take next, but that they would "have to rethink some of this action-for-action, which is what we had said we would do".

No date has been set for future talks and analysts say it is unlikely that anything will be concluded before President George Bush leaves office in January.

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