South Korea says it still hopes to continue talks about North Korea's nuclear programme soon. However there are still some disagreements between the North and the United States. This report from Charles Scanlon:
South Korean officials say the North appears to be upping the ante in its confrontation with the United States. It's demanding fuel oil and an end to sanctions in exchange for a nuclear freeze. But the foreign minister, Yoon Young-kwan, said the proposal wasn't the North's final word. He said North Korea had recently become more positive about a deal and the United States was also being more flexible and constructive. The Bush administration initially refused to negotiate, saying the North Korean regime had to first scrap both its nuclear weapons programmes. But the US and its allies this week formally offered security guarantees to the north as the first step towards a settlement. Mr Yoon said it was too early to talk about economic aid but that could be addressed in later rounds.
South Korea has been pushing hard for a resumption of negotiations this month. There's concern that a further delay will cause a damaging loss of momentum. Chinese diplomats have been engaging in shuttle diplomacy to try to narrow the differences between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea claims to have reprocessed enough plutonium this year to make several atomic bombs.