Chief US negotiator ends nuclear talks with North Korea
Chief US negotiator Christopher Hill Friday said he had "substantive" talks with North Korea to save an imperiled nuclear disarmament deal upon his return to South Korea, officials in Seoul said, reported dpa.
Hill had travelled to Pyongyang on Wednesday to persuade North Korea to abide by a nuclear disarmament deal threatened by failure as North Korea announced it is planning to restart its plutonium reprocessing activities.
Hill said that his talks in North Korea had been "substantive and lengthy" over the contentious question of verification of the North Korean nuclear programme after meeting with South Korean nuclear envoy Kim Sook.
The envoy would not say more until he had reported to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the other nations in the six-party talks.
Japan's nuclear envoy, Akitaka Saiki, was scheduled to fly to Seoul on Friday to meet with Hill.
"There's been a lot of problems in the past couple of months regarding the six-party process, so we had a substantial review of activities," said Hill about his discussions with North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Gwan and other government representatives.
US officials in Washington said earlier that Hill would offer a face-saving compromise, but no new proposals in his attempt to rescue the 2007 agreement which led North Korea to shut down its plutonium-producing plants.
Washington said it would not fulfil its promise to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism until Pyongyang agrees to procedures to verify its nuclear declaration, allowing international inspectors to check claims made by Pyongyang about its nuclear programme.
North Korea accused the United States of failing to keep its end of the bargain and last week removed seals on its nuclear facilities that were placed there by the UN's international nuclear watchdog.