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Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Negotiations possible after reactor shutdown

July 17, 2007

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— The United States is looking to build on momentum created by North Korea shutting down its nuclear reactor and will start deliberations on removing the regime from a list of terrorism-sponsoring states, the main U.S. envoy on the issue said Monday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill laid out a busy agenda for steps Washington hopes can be made in the reconciliation process as Pyongyang lays aside its nuclear weapons program.

Among them, he said, are negotiations on a permanent peace treaty to replace the 54-year-old cease-fire that halted the Korean War and talks on setting up a regional security forum in northeast Asia.

"If North Korea wants to denuclearize, all of this stuff is very doable," Hill said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Monday that the North had shut down its sole functioning nuclear reactor at Yongbyon as it said it had done Saturday, the first tangible progress from years of arms negotiations involving the U.S. and other regional powers.

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