As banks reached a crucial juncture in debt restructuring talks with South Korea on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin exhorted them to stay focused on the problem.

"What is important now is that private financial institutions move forward on a voluntary basis to negotiate with Korea a longer-term financing plan to help reestablish financial stability," Mr. Rubin said in a speech at Georgetown University. "An approach like this can be an important part of any viable response to similar crises in the future."

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