중앙데일리

Six-party breakthrough could happen

Apr 03,2008
The Blue House announced the new logo (right) for the presidential office yesterday. At left is the old logo. [NEWSIS]
Months-long negotiations to nudge North Korea to fully declare its nuclear programs may be nearing an end and a long-anticipated breakthrough may be days ahead, sources in the Korean government said.
Sources said negotiations between the United States and North Korea over the North’s nuclear program declaration “have reached a final phase,” suggesting Christopher Hill, the U.S. envoy for the nuclear talks, may meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Gye-gwan during Hill’s tour this week to Asian countries, including Indonesia and East Timor.
“If they meet again this time, the meeting will not be for another negotiation but for striking a deal,” the source said.
Hill, who arrived in Seoul on April 1 to meet with his South Korean counterpart Chun Young-woo, is expected to leave for Bali, Indonesia, on April 4. Hill said the next few days are very important.
“We will have to see whether we can hear anything new from the DPRK on this in the next few days,” Hill told reporters after meeting with South Korean officials, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“We do feel that some of the actual differences with respect to the declaration have narrowed.”
North Korea last year agreed to dismantle its nuclear programs through a three-step process in exchange for fuel aid and diplomatic concessions from the United States. It managed to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor last year but has yet to complete the second phase of fully declaring its nuclear programs, which was due on Dec. 31, 2007. Washington has constantly taken issue with the North’s possible possession of uranium-enriched programs and possible export of its nuclear programs to Syria, which the North has sternly denied. Lately concerns have been mounting that the six-party talks to solve the nuclear crisis are increasingly losing momentum.
According to the source, the anticipated declaration is expected to state that the North perceives the U.S. suspicion that the North may have uranium-enriched programs and may have exported nuclear programs to Syria, allowing the country to address the thorny issue while neither acknowledging nor denying it.


By Ye Young-joon JoongAng Ilbo [hawon@joongang.co.kr]


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