The communist state also reiterated its demand to be supplied with a light-water nuclear reactor, a Japanese daily said on Friday.

 

The Asahi newspaper, quoting sources related to the talks, also said that in bilateral discussions with the United States, North Korea threatened to continue processing plutonium unless its demand was met.

 

In 11th hour diplomacy, China put forward a new revised version of a joint document and set a deadline of Saturday afternoon for the six nations to respond, China's state media said Friday.

 

Seoul said in July it would supply the North with 2000 megawatts of electricity, roughly equivalent to present total power output in the impoverished communist state, if Pyongyang dismantled its nuclear programmes.

 

On Thursday, six-party talks designed to reach an accord on North Korea's nuclear programme faltered.

Officials from the US and North Korea, the two main protagonists in the negotiations, met for about 90 minutes, but no progress was reported.

"We understand they were not able to narrow differences," a South Korean official said.

Failure to reach an accord in Beijing could prompt the US to take the issue to the UN Security Council and press for sanctions. China opposes such a move, and communist North Korea has said sanctions would be tantamount to war.