Russian, US envoys to discuss North Korean nuclear programme
( dpa ) - Top-ranking Russian and US diplomats are to meet in Moscow on Friday to discuss the resumption of six-party talks aimed at halting North Korea's nuclear programme.
US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who has travelled to four of the countries involved in negotiations, was to meet Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov from the Russian side.
"The meeting will discuss the second round of denuclearization, in particular, the decommissioning of the objects in Yongbyon, as well as nuclear research declaration of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea " news agency Itar-Tass quoted a high-ranking Russian diplomat as saying.
The talks followed North Korea's failure to keep its promise to submit the nuclear declaration by the December 31 deadline and disable its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon, 100 kilometres north of Pyongyang, by year's end.
Counter to international suspicions, South Korean officials deny the presence of a nuclear enrichment programme at the facility. Highly enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons.
In Seoul on Thursday, US nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill called for more transparency from North Korea.
"We can't have a situation where we pretend programmes didn't exist, for we both know that they existed," Hill said on a visit to South Korea.
He added that he would like to see North Korea's nuclear declaration submitted before February 25, when a new government is to take office in South Korea.
Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed Russia's commitment to the six-party talks, saying " North Korea poses a fundamental threat."
The talks to dismantle North Korea's nuclear programme involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.