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Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

U.S., N. Korea to meet over nuclear dispute

March 12, 2008

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— Top U.S. and North Korean diplomats will gather in Geneva on Thursday amid signs that the two sides, with China's help, have structured a diplomatic framework that could resolve an impasse that had blocked a deal to end Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs.

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator, will meet with North Korean counterpart Kim Gye Gwan for one or two days. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "We're focused on trying to move the process forward."

Under an agreement reached in February 2007, North Korea was to have declared all of its nuclear programs and materials by the end of the year. Pyongyang admitted to possessing 30 to 40 kilograms of plutonium, U.S. officials said, but balked at providing full details about a suspected uranium enrichment program and about whether it had cooperated with Syria in an alleged nuclear program destroyed by Israeli fighters last September.

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