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U.S. nuclear envoy says substantive talks held with DPRK in Singapore
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22:06, December 04, 2008

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U.S. chief nuclear envoy Christopher Hill met with his Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) counterpart Kim Kye-gwan in Singapore on Thursday, saying they had substantive talks focused on verification of the DPRK's nuclear activities.

"We have reviewed the major issues that we have all been working on. It is disablement, the fuel oil and the issue of verification of their declaration," Hill, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, told reporters after their meeting.

"We had a substantive discussion of all the issues that we expect to come up during the six-party talks next week," he added.

The talks at the U.S. Embassy to Singapore came before a wider meeting of the six-party talks, which also includes China, Japan, South Korea and Russia, in Beijing starting from Dec. 8.

"With regard to verification, which is a key element of the meetings next week, we want to make sure we have enough specificity next week in a verification agreement," said Hill.

Upon his arrival in Singapore early Thursday morning, Hill told reporters that his meetings with the DPRK's officials would focus on establishing a verification protocol.

"We need to arrange for the protocol of verification, fuel delivery, and schedule of disablements. We have to make sure the verification protocol is one that clarifies issues so there will not be any misunderstandings when we get to the actual verification," Hill said.

The DPRK agreed last year to disable its Yongbyon facilities in exchange for economic aid and political concessions.

After Hill paid a three-day visit to Pyongyang in early October and struck a verification deal with the DPRK to save the stalled six-party talks, the Bush administration dropped the country from the terrorism blacklist on Oct. 11.

But the two countries disputed over the verification issue, when the U.S. side claimed inspectors, according to the deal reached with the DPRK, could take samples away from the nuclear facilities.

The DPRK, however, insisted that it never agreed to allow inspectors to take samples from its nuclear complex to verify past nuclear activities.

Hill made no comment on whether the sample issue was discussed with Kim.

Hill plans to leave for Beijing on Saturday.


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