North Korean and U.S. envoys met for a rare bilateral discussion on Monday in a sidebar to the six-party talks. Both sides stuck to their guns, with the U.S. saying its patience was running out, and North Korea maintaining it would not end its nuclear program until both American and U.N. sanctions are dropped.


Pyongyang walked out of the talks 13 months ago in protest at the sanctions, and has demanded they be lifted if progress is to be made on negotiations.

The U.S. imposed the restrictions after accusing Pyongyang of involvement in money-laundering and counterfeiting.

Chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill said there had been no progress on the first day of talks on Monday.

And he has warned that Washington’s patience with North Korea is running out.

North Korea on Monday said it would not consider halting its nuclear programme unless both the U.S. financial restrictions and later U.N. sanctions — imposed after its nuclear test in October — were lifted.

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