U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill will visit China and Russia next week for more consultations regarding the promotion of a nuclear declaration by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the State Department said Friday.
Hill, due to leave here May 26, will visit Beijing Tuesday through Thursday and Moscow Thursday through Saturday, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.
Hill has no plan to meet for talks with DPRK officials, but "the North Koreans know he is traveling and if they see an interest or a desire to do so, I am sure they'll arrange something," Casey added.
The scheduled visit by the top U.S. negotiator signals Washington's optimism about a long awaited DPRK nuclear declaration.
"Things are moving ahead," Hill, who is assistant Secretary of State, told reporters Thursday when asked about when Pyongyang will possibly submit its declaration of its nuclear program.
The DPRK delivered on May 8 to the United States more than 18,000 pages of its sensitive nuclear records, and the six-party talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula were reportedly to be resumed before June 15 after an eight-month suspension.
The DPRK, which detonated an atomic device in October 2006, has agreed to abandon all its nuclear programs in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives.
Under an agreement reached at the six-party talks in Beijing in February 2007, the DPRK agreed to abandon all nuclear weapons and programs and declare all its nuclear programs and facilities by the end of 2007, in exchange for diplomatic and economic incentives.
The six-party talks, involving the DPRK, the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia, have been held on and off since August 2003.