Accessibility links

US Nuclear Envoy Says Completeness More Important than Speed in North Korean Nuclear Report

The senior U.S. negotiator in the North Korea nuclear talks says he is more concerned that a report on Pyongyang's nuclear activities be complete, than whether it is issued on time. A new report out of Washington, meanwhile, says China is prepared to take send military troops into North Korea if instability in the country were to jeopardize the security of North Korean nuclear sites. VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill's stop here Tuesday is the second on his latest attempt to push the North Korean nuclear disarmament process along.

He continues to express concern over Pyongyang's failure to meet a deadline for issuing a full list of its nuclear activities.

North Korea promised its five partners in the six-nation nuclear talks last year that it would declare all of its nuclear weapons, programs and stockpiles by December 31. That date passed, to silence from Pyongyang.

But Hill says accuracy in Pyongyang's report is more important than speed.

"I'm not too concerned about them being a little late. The main concern is that when they do give a declaration, that it be complete," Hill said.

Last week, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said a declaration provided to U.S. officials in November was sufficient. Hill says it was not.

"They can make as many declarations as they want. The issue is, have they made a complete one? And the answer is no," Hill said.

Hill flew here from Japan Tuesday, and after his stop in South Korea he plans to head to China and Russia - all participants in the six-nation talks, which are aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons programs for good.

On his arrival in Seoul, he called for patience with Pyongyang - up to a point.

"I think we need to kind of stick with it, be a little patient with it - but be tough, and try to get through," Hill said.

He says North Korea's reticence can be understood, to the extent that the country is "not automatically inclined toward transparency." However, he says providing a complete declaration is something that "needs to be done."

He also says China, as the host nation of the talks, has a special responsibility to push North Korea to honor its nuclear obligations.

Two Washington-based research organizations, the U.S. Institute for Peace and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have issued a report meanwhile underlining Beijing's concern for North Korean nuclear security.

The report is called "Keeping an Eye on an Unruly Neighbor." It quotes Chinese military researchers as saying Beijing has contingency plans to deploy troops to North Korea to secure its nuclear sites, if the government there ever becomes unstable.