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S. Korean Envoy to Discuss N. Korea Nuclear Issues in China


A senior South Korean envoy is travelling to China to prepare for the imminent resumption of multinational talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. South Korea's President also says he will make his own visit to Beijing. VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.

South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman Moon Tae-young said Tuesday the country's chief envoy on the North Korean nuclear issue was departing for Beijing.

He says chief nuclear negotiator Kim Sook is travelling to China to meet with his counterpart Wu Dawei. They intend to discuss different issues related to six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear capabilities.

South Korean officials have been predicting that the talks, which also involve the United States, Japan, and Russia, would resume before mid-June.

North Korea has so far refused to produce a declaration of its nuclear stockpiles and activities it promised by the end of last year. However, in a possible sign the North is being more forthcoming about its nuclear past, U.S. diplomat Sung Kim was given boxes of nuclear records during his visit to North Korea last week. Kim has now returned to Washington to begin the process of studying the records, which deal with the North's main plutonium reactor facility.

U.S. officials call the turnover of the reactor documents a good step towards a complete and correct nuclear declaration. However, major questions about the number of Pyongyang's weapons, and about its possible nuclear cooperation with Syria, remain unanswered.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is planning his own trip to China. He plans to be in Beijing two weeks from now for a summit with President Hu Jintao.

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