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US and NKorea nuke negotiators may meet this week: Yonhap

Singapore. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Dec 1, 2008
North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator will visit Singapore this week, apparently to meet his US counterpart before a new round of disarmament talks, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Monday.

The agency quoted a North Korean embassy official in the city-state as confirming that Kim Kye-Gwan would visit.

No further details were given. Yonhap last week quoted a diplomatic source as saying Kim and the US envoy Christopher Hill may meet in Singapore around December 4.

South Korea's foreign ministry said it could not comment on the report.

Earlier reports said the chief South Korean, US, and Japanese nuclear negotiators would meet in Tokyo Wednesday to agree strategy before the next round of the six-party talks, which also include Russia.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said the six-party discussions will resume on December 8 in Beijing but China has yet to announce a date.

The full meeting will try to secure a written agreement on ways to verify North Korea's disclosures about its nuclear programme.

The US and North Korea differ on what was agreed when Hill made a trip to Pyongyang from October 1-3 to try to save a shaky February 2007 disarmament deal.

After reaching an apparent agreement on verification procedures, the US announced it would drop the North from a terrorism blacklist and the North reversed plans to restart its plutonium-producing nuclear plants.

North Korea, however, insists it never agreed to the removal of samples of atomic material.

It says the outside verification of its nuclear inventory, submitted in June, will involve only field visits, confirmation of documents and interviews with technicians.

The US State Department has reiterated that sampling is part of the deal which Hill reached, although it would not say whether there is a written agreement.

US officials say sampling is crucial to checking how much bomb-making plutonium the North produced in the past -- and how many bombs it could theoretically make from its stockpile.

The communist state tested an atomic weapon in October 2006 before agreeing to return to the six-party negotiations.

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US and NKorea nuke negotiators may meet next week: Yonhap
Seoul (AFP) Nov 27, 2008
The top US and North Korean nuclear negotiators are likely to meet next week to prepare for a new round of disarmament talks set for early December, Yonhap news agency said Thursday.

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