The Bush administration signaled Thursday that it may not be able to reach an agreement with North Korea on its nuclear program before President Bush leaves office next month but said it will continue to try.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the North Koreans had refused to sign an agreement on how to verify their nuclear activities. Asked if the negotiations were over for the Bush administration, McCormack said, "No, no. In terms of further action in the six-party mechanism, we will see what the North Koreans' response is going to be."
He added, "There will continue to be work, there will continue to be action in terms of consultation, and certainly we, as well as others, the Chinese I would expect, would urge North Korea to accept the common understanding of the other five [countries] to move this process forward." [The “other five” countries being the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea.]