China may spell out NKorea progress plan

Feb. 8, 2007 at 11:07 AM
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BEIJING, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A South Korean diplomat Thursday predicted possible imminent progress in the long-stalled six-nation nuclear talks with North Korea.

Kim Kye Gwan, the head of South Korea's delegation to the six-nation talks in Beijing, said China, the nation hosting the talks, could present either Thursday or Friday a new draft agreement outlining the first part of the process of nuclear disarmament for North Korea, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The report came the day that the long-stalled negotiations resumed.

"North Korea has expressed its readiness to discuss the first steps toward resolving the dispute over its nuclear program at the talks in Beijing, but its position remains largely unchanged," RIA Novosti reported. It cited "a source close to the negotiations."

"The head of the North Korean delegation, Kim Kye Gwan, expressed his readiness to discuss initial measures to implement a joint statement dated Sept. 19, 2005, but on the whole, the country's position has not changed," the source told the Russian news agency.

North Korea, South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and the Untied States all participate in the Beijing talks, which have now entered the third stage of their fifth round.

"The South Korean press has said North Korea could be disarmed in four stages: freezing the declared nuclear facilities, declaring the remainder, inspecting the new facilities and dismantling them," RIA Novosti said. "North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye Gwan has said that for now the country is only prepared to discuss its current nuclear ambitions."

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