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US nuclear envoy urges full disclosure from NKorea

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 12, 2008
Chief US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill Wednesday appealed for full disclosure from North Korea as he headed to Geneva for his first talks with his counterpart from the Stalinist nation in a month.

North Korea must give a "complete and correct" declaration of its atomic activities, Hill told reporters ahead of his talks with opposite number Kim Kye-Gwan on Thursday.

North Korea last year signed a landmark deal to abandon all its nuclear weapons in exchange for badly needed energy and economic aid and major security and diplomatic benefits.

But the process -- involving the United States, China, both Koreas, Russia and Japan -- has been stalled since North Korea missed an end-2007 deadline to declare all its nuclear programs and disable its plutonium plant.

North Korea has since blamed Washington for the deadlock, citing a US failure to remove Pyongyang from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Hill and Kim met in Beijing last month in an effort to break the deadlock, but no progress was reported at the meeting.

The US State Department official refused to characterize his hopes for the Geneva talks.

"I'm never optimistic nor pessimistic, except where the Red Sox are concerned," he said, referring to his Boston baseball team.

Hill was speaking after addressing a US Senate committee hearing on Vietnam, which he visited this month as part of an Asian tour that included consultations with key partners on the North Korean impasse.

The envoy said he looked forward to briefing Kim about his trip to Hanoi, and would appeal for the Stalinist state to take a page out of Vietnam's book by pursuing economic growth rather than arms.

"Vietnam has never developed nuclear capabilities or weapons capabilities as the North Koreans are doing, and Vietnam is very successful for that fact," he said.

earlier related report
US mulls separate declaration on North Korean proliferation
The United States is mulling drafting a separate statement with North Korea on Pyongyang's nuclear activities in order to unlock stalled six-party talks on North Korean denuclearization, the State Department said Wednesday.

Asked about the possibility of such a declaration, mentioned by an anonymous diplomatic source, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that "substance matters more than form."

"The requirement is a full and complete declaration" by North Korea, McCormack said ahead of a Thursday meeting between chief US negotiator Christopher Hill and his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye-Gwan in Geneva.

"What form that takes or what forms that takes, that is not really the relevant metric," he added. "The relevant metric is, does it fulfill the requirement of a full and complete declaration?"

North Korea last year signed a landmark deal to abandon all its nuclear weapons in exchange for badly needed energy and economic aid and major security and diplomatic benefits.

But the process -- involving China, both Koreas, Japan, Russia and the United States -- has been stalled since North Korea missed an end-2007 deadline to declare all its nuclear programs and disable its plutonium plant.

North Korea has blamed Washington for the deadlock, citing a US failure to remove Pyongyang from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The United States is trying to break the impasse with the separate Washington-Pyongyang declaration, the diplomatic source said.

The declaration would then be submitted to the other countries in the six-party process and made public, the source added.

Washington has already rejected an initial Pyongyang declaration which failed to address secret nuclear technology transfers to Syria.

Last September Israeli military jets bombed a site in Syria after Israeli and US intelligence determined the site housed a partially built nuclear reactor.

Washington also suspects North Korea of secretly pursuing a uranium enrichment program (UEP) and has called on Pyongyang to clarify its UEP activities.

Pyongyang, which conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006 with plutonium, has denied the existence of a separate uranium enrichment program and has rejected alleged links with Syria.

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US wants 'clear signal' from NKorea over nuclear declaration
Seoul (AFP) March 10, 2008
North Korea must send a "clear signal" to fully declare its nuclear programmes in order to get itself removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, the US ambassador here said Monday.







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