Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

NKorea nuke envoys discuss verifying past activity

 U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill, center, gestures as he speak to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for six-party talks in Beijing Tues...
 U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill speaks to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for the six-party talks in Beijing Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. ...

China Koreas Nuclear

U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill, center, gestures as he speak to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for six-party talks in Beijing Tues...

China Koreas Nuclear

U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill speaks to the media at a hotel lobby upon leaving for the six-party talks in Beijing Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008. ...

Envoys to talks on North Korea's nuclear program began a third day of meetings Wednesday to hammer out details of a proposal on verifying the country's accounting of its past atomic activities, a major step in the disarmament process.
Host China distributed a draft agreement to teams from the five other countries involved in the talks _ Japan, North Korea, South Korea, the United States and Russia _ and delegates were to go over the details in meetings, U.S. envoy Christopher Hill said.
"If we can get through this, this would be an important milestone on that road but with the understanding that we have a long way to go," Hill told reporters.
Verification is the focus of the latest round of nuclear talks, which opened Monday in Beijing with North Korea refusing to let outside inspectors take samples _ a key method of ensuring that the communist regime is being truthful _ from its main nuclear complex at Yongbyon.
Hill would not say what was in the four-page draft, but only that it included sections on sampling and visits as part of a verification process.
"We need a verification process that's clear and that does not leave ambiguity, and that certainly, I think, is what the draft tries to address and what we tried to address in our comments," he said.
South Korean negotiator Kim Sook said the parties were still working on the language in the draft.
"We are making efforts to dispel misunderstandings brought by ambiguous expressions, and reach an agreement by replacing them (ambiguous expressions) with transparent ones," Kim told reporters.
The six-party talks have taken place in fits and starts since 2003. In 2006, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test. In 2007, Pyongyang agreed to a disarmament-for-aid pact, but the disarmament process stalled in August amid a standoff with the U.S. over verification.
Hill has said that besides deciding on specific standards to check if North Korea has been truthful about its past nuclear activities, the talks are also looking at setting a schedule for delivery of the remaining fuel oil aid to the impoverished country and determining a timetable for disabling its nuclear facilities.
North Korea submitted an inventory of its past activities in June. U.S. officials said North Korea agreed previously to allow experts to take samples and conduct forensic tests at all of its declared nuclear facilities and undeclared sites.
But Pyongyang says it agreed only to let nuclear inspectors visit its main atomic complex, view related documents and interview scientists _ and said it would not allow outside inspectors to take samples.
All six parties have reached consensus on shipping all the promised economic aid to North Korea _ 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid in total _ by the end of March, Kim said. About half of the aid has been delivered so far.
___
Associated Press writer Audra Ang contributed to this report.