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US seeks progress from North Korea talks PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 30 May 2008

REUTERS, BEIJING - The top US envoy in nuclear negotiations with North Korea said he hoped talks in the Chinese capital on Wednesday would help bring "definitive progress" on a long-delayed disarmament agreement.

Speaking before talks with his North Korean counterpart, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said he wanted the fresh round of negotiations to help set a time for completing a preliminary disarmament deal sealed in February 2007.

"I hope we can get an overall timeframe that I can take back to Washington," Hill told reporters. "There won't be any announcements today on that, but I hope we can make some very definitive progress on that so that I can carry something back to Washington and discuss it with other parties as well."

Hill was to meet North Korea's top negotiator, Kim Kye-gwan, and Chinese officials and on Thursday fly to Moscow to talk to Russian and South Korean nuclear envoys.

North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia have been involved in long-running "six-party" talks aimed at curtailing the North's nuclear weapons plans.

The negotiations intensified after Pyongyang held its first nuclear test blast in October 2006.

But completing the second phase of the deal, which demands North Korea cripple its key nuclear complex and declare all its atomic activities, has been frustrated by disagreements over the content of the declaration and when North Korea should receive aid and diplomatic concessions from the other countries.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is also visiting China this week, aiming to boost business with the country's biggest trade partner.

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