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US Envoy Confident North Korea Will Meet Nuclear Commitment by Year End


The top U.S. negotiator on North Korea's nuclear program says he believes Pyongyang will terminate all of its nuclear activities by the end of this year.

In a speech today in Sydney, Australia, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said he believes that by the end of the year, whatever uranium program North Korea has going will no longer be in operation.

North Korea has long been suspected of enriching uranium, a process that can produce material for nuclear weapons. The North denies pursuing enrichment, but acknowledges having weapons-grade plutonium.

In July, North Korea shut down its main Yongbyon nuclear complex. Earlier this month, it agreed to disable its main facilities at the Yongbyon site and reveal all of its nuclear programs by the end of this year.

Last week, a team of U.S. nuclear experts arrived in North Korea to begin mapping out a disablement plan.

In 2002, U.S. government accusations that North Korea had a secret uranium program, in addition to its plutonium-based program, led to the breakdown of talks on Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

South Korea's envoy to the six-party talks told Reuters last week that the North is ready to declare how much weapons-grade plutonium it has and clarify allegations regarding a secret uranium-enrichment program.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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