BEIJING – Envoys to North Korean (search) nuclear talks decided to hold another meeting Sunday, but one of the topics will be whether to take a recess after 12 days of negotiations that have made little progress toward persuading Pyongyang to disarm, Japan's chief envoy said Saturday.
Diplomats say the talks are deadlocked over the North's insistence on retaining a peaceful nuclear program and the question of what Pyongyang would receive if it disarms.
"We are talking about the possibility of a recess. We are going to have another meeting tomorrow," Japanese envoy Kenichiro Sasae (search) said.
He did not say how long a recess might last.
Envoys from the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia are trying to write a joint statement meant to guide the negotiations.
The chief U.S. envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill (search), said earlier Saturday that Americans were willing to stay "as long as we make progress." However, he warned, "If we're not going to make progress we're not going to be here."
Hill complained Friday night that the talks were moving too slowly and said he hoped Saturday meetings with Chinese and North Korean officials could produce a way to speed up the talks.
Hill said a recess was a possible option that might let the diplomats return to their home countries and review their work. But he said envoys had not considered it yet.
Hill also said negotiators needed to ensure that any diplomatic gains achieved this week were "locked in" so talks did not need to start from scratch when they reconvened.