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Six-party talks to resume Monday

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six party talks aimed at persuading North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program will resume on December 18, White House spokesman Tony Snow announced Monday.

"We do not know the exact location or details of that, but we are pleased about it," Snow said.

Pyongyang walked away from the negotiating table last year.

Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy to the talks, has made several trips to China, where he met with his counterparts, including the North Koreans, to prepare for the talks. The United States has said it wants a successful round of discussions and not just talk.

Between the talks with the North Koreans and discussions with the Chinese, the United States feels there is a "better than fair chance we can move the process along in this round," a senior administration official told CNN on Friday. However, the official noted, the upcoming round will not be the last round.

At the last round of talks in September 2005, North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States produced an agreement in which North Korea committed to abandoning its nuclear program. In exchange, the other nations said they were prepared to offer political and economic incentives and security guarantees to the reclusive north.

In order for this round of talks to be successful, officials said, the United States wants North Korea to move beyond the commitment it made in the joint statement to abandon its nuclear program and commit to specific action.

North Korea agreed last month to return to the talks, after seven hours of meetings in Beijing with China and the United States. Pyongyang hopes to use the talks to address its concerns about U.S. economic sanctions.

U.N. Resolution 1718, unanimously passed by the U.N. Security Council in response to North Korea's surprise underground nuclear test on October 9, prohibits trade with North Korea of any materials or weapons that could be used by its ballistic missile and weapons programs.

The sanctions also call for inspections of all cargo leaving and arriving in the country.

President Bush signed a presidential determination on Friday saying that North Korea indeed set off a nuclear device in its October test, and adding more sanctions against North Korea, on top of those already in place from the United Nations.

A senior administration official told CNN the additional sanctions are not large and do not translate to a major impact on Pyongyang, although they do extend the existing U.S. sanctions.

CNN's Elise Labott and Ed Henry contributed to this report.

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