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US wants NKorea to provide reactor's operational record: report

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) April 15, 2008
The United States wants North Korea to provide an operational record of its key nuclear reactor, which has been used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, a report said Tuesday.

Washington insists the record should be included in documents to be attached to a deal reached last week in Singapore, the South's Yonhap news agency said, citing diplomatic sources.

Such documents are instrumental in verifying the North's promised nuclear declaration, it said.

Six-nation talks on North Korea's denuclearisation have been stalled for months by a dispute over the declaration, which was promised by the end of last year.

Top US negotiator Christopher Hill refused to reveal details of his meeting in Singapore with North Korean envoy Kim Kye-Gwan to debate the form of the declaration but said the two sides "definitely made progress."

Media reports say that under the deal, the North would "acknowledge" concerns about uranium and proliferation in a secret side-agreement with Washington.

The main declaration, to be delivered to six-party talks host China, would refer only to the acknowledged plutonium-based weapons operation.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Monday that President George W. Bush accepts the tentative deal.

The US says it should clear up suspicions about an alleged secret uranium enrichment programme and about suspected nuclear proliferation to Syria. The North denies both charges.

Under the deal the US would start the process of removing the North from a list of terrorism-sponsoring states in return for a satisfactory declaration and for the disablement of its main plutonium-producing plants.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said last week the Singapore meeting produced an agreement on its declaration and also on "political compensation" from Washington, an apparent reference to the terrorism listing.

The six-party talks which began in 2003 group the US, the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia.

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Bush accepts tentative nuke deal with NKorea: White House
Washington (AFP) April 14, 2008
President George W. Bush accepts a tentative deal reached by US and North Korean negotiators which is aimed at breaking a deadlock in nuclear disarmament talks, the White House said Monday.

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