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North Korea unlikely to Join Talks at ASEAN

A senior U.S. official says there are no signs that North Korea will rejoin six-party talks on its nuclear program during a regional security meeting in Kuala Lumpur this week.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Christopher Hill says Washington would still like to hold talks about North Korea with several countries even if Pyongyang refuses to attend.

He says North Korea's boycott of the talks should not prevent other nations from meeting on the issue.

Hill was speaking today in Kuala Lumpur after talks with China's Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting, which began Tuesday.

Pyongyang has refused to take part in the six-party talks since November last year to protest a U.S. financial crackdown on North Korean-linked companies. Washington accuses the companies of counterfeiting and drug-smuggling for Pyongyang.

North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are both due to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. But, there are no plans for direct talks between them.