Negotiators from six countries meeting in Beijing are discussing a Chinese draft proposal on ways to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programme.
The parties are trying to break a deadlock over how to verify North Korea’s account of its atomic activity.
North Korea’s envoy Kim Kye Gwan (L) and with his delegation sits next to Japan’s envoy Akitaka Saiki (2nd R)and his delegation as they take part in a new round of six party talks in Beijing December 8, 2008. A top U.S. envoy predicted tough talks on North Korea’s nuclear activities on Monday as a fresh round of negotiations over a disarmament-for-aid deal began with the Bush administration readying to leave office.REUTERS/Elizabeth Dalziel/Pool (CHINA)
North Korea agreed last year to disable its plutonium-producing reactor and disclose its nuclear activities in return for fuel aid.
Progress in implementing the deal has been sporadic.
The six-party process, begun in 2003, groups North and South Korea with China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Significant progress in the talks would be a rare diplomatic victory for US President George W Bush before he leaves office in January.
Many analysts say Pyongyang is unlikely to strike a deal before President-elect Barack Obama takes over the White House.
The Chinese proposal is said to include details on international inspections of the North’s Yongbyon reactor that would provide samples of nuclear material that could be taken out of the country for testing.
“We need a verification process that’s clear and that does not leave ambiguity, and that certainly, I think, is what the draft tries to address and what we tried to address in our comments,” US envoy Christopher Hill said before Wednesday’s talks began.
South Korean envoy Kim Sook said the wording of the Chinese draft needed to be fine-tuned.
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