20 Februari 2008
U.S., North Korean envoys meet in Beijing in attempt to revive disarmament process BEIJING

U.S., North Korean envoys meet in Beijing in attempt to revive disarmament process BEIJING

Senior U.S. and North Korean negotiators met on Tuesday for hurriedly arranged talks on salvaging a sputtering process to eliminate the North's nuclear programs. The meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan was their first since December.

ln the two months since, fitful progress in ending North Korea's nuclear programs has coem to a virtual stop over differences on whether the North has made a full accounting of its nuclear facilities.
North Korea wants Washington to remove it from terrorism and other blacklists before making the disclosures.
Hill said he had "a good substantial discussion" with Kim inside North Korea's embassy in Beijing, but indicated no breakthroughs had been made.

Hill said he again urged North Korea to make a full disclosure of its nuclear programs to keep alive a yearold disarmament agreement.

"We had a discussion about what we think needs to be included in that. I think they understand our point of view, but we won't have a complete and correct declaration until we have a complete and correct declaration," he said at the Beijing airport before flying to Seoul. "So I am not sure we yet have an understanding on that," Hill said.

Hill said a full declaration should include uranium enrichment and Pyongyang's relations with Syria, to which it has been accused of providing nuclear assistance. Damascus denies it has an undeclared atomic program, and North Korea has said it was not involved in any such project.
The wrangling is the latest in nearly five years of tortuous diplomacy over North Korea's nuclear programs, during which it exploded a nuclear device only to later agree to abandon the programs.

A February 2007 agreement and a followup pact in October endorsed by China, Japan, Russia and South Korea as well as the United States and North Korea

promised the North energy and other assistance in return for relinquishing its nuclear programs. It also committed Washington to begin removing trade sanctions and the terrorism designation.

South Korea said on Tuesday that 2,830 tons of steel will be shipped to North Korea on Friday as part of promised aid under the disarmament agreements. The shipment is about a loth of what the South Korean government will send to North Korea before June, the South's Unification Ministry said.

While it has shut and begun dismantling its main nuclear facility as the agreement called for, North Korea missed a yearend deadline for disclosing all its nuclear programs. In recent weeks, it has shown signs of slowing down its disarmament. At the same time, with President George W. Bush leaving office in a year, Washington has shown added urgency about North Korea.
"This administration is running out of time," said Jonathan Pollack, a Korea watcher at the U.S. Naval War College. (AP)

Source :The Point, Page : 15 

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