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Diplomats: North Korea Unlikely to Meet Year-End Deadline for Declaring Nuclear Programs


Diplomats from the six-party nuclear talks with North Korea say it is not likely that Pyongyang will meet a year-end deadline to declare all of its nuclear programs.

Over the past several days, diplomats from South Korea, China, Japan and the United States have indicated that North Korea will miss the deadline it agreed to at talks earlier this year. However, those same diplomats also say the year-end date is not significant.

North Korea's closest ally, China, said this week that Pyongyang will have completed by year's end the majority of work to disable and declare all of its nuclear programs.

At a meeting in Seoul with his Chinese and South Korean counterparts Wednesday, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official, Hyon Hak Pong, said the speed of the disablement process is being slowed. He cited a delay in receiving promised economic aid from the United States and other parties to the agreement.

Under the six-nation agreement, North Korea promised to dismantle its nuclear facilities and to declare all of its nuclear programs by the end of this month. In return, Pyongyang was promised energy assistance and political concessions.

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

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