N. Korea And US May Call Timeout

LONG-RUNNING talks between the United States and North Korea on a nuclear accord may be suspended if problems that emerged over the weekend are not quickly resolved, diplomats said yesterday.

According to the officials, a decision setting a time limit on the current round was likely after expert-level discussions. Although several deadlines have slipped by as the talks have dragged, a source close to the US delegation said the inclination to call a timeout was now ``more serious.''

The US team is frustrated by what it sees as a renewed hardening of the North Korean stance. But the Pyongyang delegation blames the breakdown on the US. The talks focus on the North's switching from graphite to light-water nuclear technology and opening its reactors to inspections.

N. Korean heir set to take power

COMMUNIST North Korea is expected to formally install Kim Jong Il, political heir of late ``Great Leader'' Kim Il Sung, as its Communist Party chief this week, a South Korean official said yesterday.

He said a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party was expected to elect Kim as party general secretary and that his election to the state presidency was expected to come later. Kim made his first public appearance in nearly three months on Sunday at a memorial service for his late father, ending doubts about his power in the North. He had not appeared in public since his father's funeral on July 20, raising speculations he might be ill or facing internal rivals.

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