Alexeyev announced that the Korean nuclear talks, involving North and South Korea, China, Japan, the United States and Russia, will be continued on the basis of a draft agreement submitted by China. He said the draft has been 95% agreed upon, but that the remaining 5% contains quite a few contentious issues, on which heated debates are still underway. He confirmed that the talks will continue into Friday. He said the delegations are to hold consultations with their national governments, but that all of them seem determined to reach a compromise.
Negotiations on the issue were launched in August 2003. The current round began on July 26. North Korea insists that the United States should establish diplomatic relations with it and sign a non-aggression pact. Pyongyang also wants the United States to resume fuel supplies for Korean electricity plants, which were suspended in late 2002, and is demanding that all of its five negotiating partners give it security guarantees.
On February 12 of this year, North Korea declared itself a nuclear power, but the world community has no conclusive evidence to confirm that the North Korean government has nuclear weapons. With the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unable to inspect North Korea's nuclear sites, reconnaissance satellites remain the only source of information on the country's nuclear program, but the images they provide are usually ambiguous.