US Envoy to Visit Beijing, Moscow for Talks on North Korean Nuclear Program
By VOA News
23 May 2008
The State Department says U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill will travel to Beijing and Moscow next week to brief officials on recent efforts to end North Korea's nuclear program.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters Friday that Hill's visit to Beijing will begin on Tuesday and that he will travel to Moscow on Thursday.
Casey says Hill has not scheduled any talks with North Korean officials while in Beijing, but added that he would be willing to meet if the North is interested.
His visit was announced as hopes are rising that a months-long deadlock over a declaration from North Korea will soon end.
On Monday, Hill said he expects the negotiating process in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program to quicken in the next few weeks, indicating that Pyongyang could be close to handing over a declaration.
Earlier this month, North Korea handed over 18,000 pages of records for its Yongbyon reactor and reprocessing plant.
The United States continues to analyze the documents and says they appear to be accurate.
Last year, North Korea agreed to disable and dismantle its main nuclear complex under a deal reached with the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. In return North Korea was promised diplomatic incentives and energy aid.
Disputes over the declaration, which was originally expected at the end of last year, are delaying the start of the final phase of the process - the permanent dismantling of the North's plants and the handover of all nuclear material.
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