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South Korea dismisses North's nuclear 'ultimatum'

SOUTH KOREA: South Korea's foreign minister played down on Tuesday the notion that North Korea delivered an ultimatum when it held talks last week with a visiting U.S. envoy who was trying to save a floundering nuclear disarmament deal.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill has been mostly silent on the details of his three days of talks in Pyongyang. He said the focus of the discussions was finding a way to verify claims the North made about its nuclear programme.

"Reports on North Korea having made a very important suggestion or issued an ultimatum seem to be grounded on matters in the past. It is different from what was discussed at Hill's recent visit, which was a verification protocol," Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told a parliamentary committee.

A pro-Pyongyang newspaper said on Monday that North Korea "seems to have delivered its opinion on peacefully resolving the nuclear issues ... and issued an ultimatum in relation to this".

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