Beijing and Seoul paid officials to play by the rules during second round of six-way negotiations, US analyst claims North Korea's warming ties with South Korea and China are undermining negotiations on scrapping the hardline state's nuclear programme, an American analyst said yesterday. Their assessment comes amid reports that China paid North Korean officials to attend talks in Beijing last week and an announcement by South Korea of increased humanitarian aid. The second round of talks between the North, its four neighbours and the US ended last Friday with the only agreement being to meet again in July. North Korea's demands that the US grant incentives before its programme was dismantled were steadfastly rejected by American negotiators. Balbina Hwang, a Korea expert with the Heritage Foundation in Washington, said yesterday that China and South Korea were not helping with their approach. 'To be offering bribes to North Korea to appear to be playing by the rules will not in the long run do anything to help the situation,' Ms Hwang said. 'It provides back-slapping congratulations initially, but that continues to set a bad precedent.' China, which is hosting the negotiations, is North Korea's closest ally. Apart from providing oil to the energy-starved nation, diplomats say the mainland is funding several industrial projects. Beijing also reportedly paid for the North Korean delegation's attendance at the latest talks. South Korea's Unification Ministry announced yesterday ahead of a new round of talks on co-operation that the nation would meet a North Korean request to maintain its yearly provision of 200,000 tonnes of fertiliser and put 47 billion won (HK$311 million) towards building roads and other infrastructure. A further US$1 million would be offered through the United Nations Children's Fund and US$900,000 via the World Health Organisation. Bilateral talks in Seoul today will focus on joint projects including an industrial park in the city of Kaesong and the building of cross-border roads and railways. Japan has substantially cut aid and taken steps to limit remittances from North Koreans living in Japan. The other participant in the talks, Russia, is believed to provide minimal support. Ms Hwang said accusations that the US was being inflexible in its approach were unfounded and that the real problem lay with China and South Korea's lack of co-ordination. 'There is a really a lot of room for North Korea to take advantage, and they're doing a superb job doing that,' she said. Respected analyst Victor Cha, a political scientist at Georgetown University, believes China and South Korea are as dedicated as the US in seeking a solution, but agrees their aid to the North prolonged negotiations. North Korea's regime was reliant on foreign aid for survival and without such support would be forced to cave in to US demands, he concluded. 'If either China or South Korea were to constrict what they are doing now, it would make a huge difference,' Dr Cha said. About 20,000 Korean war veterans and opposition supporters marched in Seoul on Monday against their government's economic support of the North. But such objections were rejected yesterday by the assistant professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul, Seong Ji-woo, who believes incentives would be the best way of breaching the impasse. 'There is no trust between Pyongyang and Washington and they do not want to compromise, so someone has to step in and perform the function of a mediator,' said Dr Seong, the head of Korean relations study at the Foreign Ministry think-tank.