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US envoy returns to N.Korea to extract nuclear list PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 May 2008

A team led by the U.S. State Department's nuclear envoy was set to enter North Korea on Thursday to persuade Pyongyang to declare its nuclear activities as called for in a six-nation disarmament deal, an official said, reports Reuters.

U.S. envoy Sung Kim led a similar delegation to the secretive state about two weeks ago, pressing for an inventory of its fissile material and nuclear weaponry and for answers to U.S. charges that it enriched uranium for weapons and transferred technology to Syria.

"He is expected to cross into North Korea today," a U.S. embassy official in Seoul said.

North Korea failed to disclose the list of its nuclear activities by a December 31, 2007 deadline set in the disarmament deal it reached with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

Kim's return visit reflects an accelerated U.S. effort to secure the declaration, analysts have said.

The declaration, to be made formally to the host of the six-party talks, China, will likely come in the next two weeks, which should lead to a new round of meetings by top envoys to discuss its verification, a South Korean official said.

President George W. Bush said in late April he released U.S. intelligence about suspected North Korea-Syria nuclear collusion to put pressure on Pyongyang to come clean.

Pyongyang has yet to respond to the recent White House charges that North Korea was helping Syria build a reactor that could produce arms-grade plutonium.

Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said in Seoul Washington remained concerned about North Korea's proliferation of nuclear technology to Syria.

A separate team of U.S. officials ended four days of talks in Pyongyang on providing food aid to the impoverished state, the North's official KCNA news agency said on Thursday. The three-sentence dispatch did not say if there was agreement to supply the aid but that the discussions were "sincere".

North Korea, which battles chronic shortages, may be heading back into famine due to damage from flooding last year, soaring global food prices and donors being more reluctant about providing handouts to the defiant state, experts have said.

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