updated 1/17/2007 7:47:41 AM ET 2007-01-17T12:47:41

The chief U.S. negotiator at six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions indicated Wednesday that he is hopeful talks can resume by the end of this month, and described a meeting with his North Korean counterpart as “useful.”

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and the North’s Kim Kye Gwan met for several hours Tuesday in Berlin, and were to meet again Wednesday.

“You can assume when you have six hours of conversations ... that you can characterize them as useful,” he said at an event in the German capital.

He would not comment on what exactly they discussed.

Asked when the six-party talks might resume, Hill said: “We hope we can do this by the end of January, but we have to talk to the Chinese since they are the hosts in the process.”

The latest round of six-country talks — held after a yearlong hiatus and North Korea’s first nuclear test, carried out in October — ended in December with no agreement on disarmament, or a new date for further talks.

The talks involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

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