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`Phase 2 of Denuclearization to Wrap Up Before March`

Posted December. 04, 2008 07:49,   


South Korea, Japan and the United States yesterday agreed to complete the second phase of North Korea’s denuclearization process and enter the third phase of abandonment of nuclear weapons before March.

The three countries held a meeting at the Japanese Foreign Ministry ahead of the six-party talks set to resume in Beijing Monday.

Kim Sook, Seoul’s top nuclear envoy, held a news conference at the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo after meeting delegates Christopher Hill of the United States and Akitaka Saiki of Japan.

On the verification protocol, the main agenda of the upcoming six-party talks, Kim said, “The representatives from the three countries reaffirmed that the protocol must include core elements of verification, such as taking samples from North Korea’s nuclear sites.”

On Japan’s refusal to contribute to the 200,000 tons of heavy fuel oil to give to North Korea over Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese nationals, he said, “We agreed to consider ways to take international donations in the upcoming six-party talks, but not in a way to influence the structure of the talks.”

Hill will reportedly hold a bilateral meeting with chief North Korean negotiator Kim Kye Gwan in Singapore today to finalize the deal on taking samples from North Korea’s nuclear sites and its adoption of the verification protocol. Consequently, the Hill-Kim talks could be a watershed in the negotiations on nuclear verification.

Sources said Hill will stop by at Seoul Saturday to hold talks with Kim Sook.