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North Korea to Demolish Part of Yongbyon Nuclear Facility


A top South Korean official in the talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program says Pyongyang will soon demolish part of its main nuclear facility, a symbolic gesture of its commitment to nuclear disarmament.

South Korean nuclear envoy Kim Sook says North Korea plans to demolish the cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear complex after it hands over a long awaited nuclear declaration.

Hopes have been rising recently that a months-long deadlock in negotiations will soon end. Earlier this month, North Korea handed over 18,000 pages of records for its Yongbyon reactor and reprocessing plant.

Last year, North Korea agreed to disable and dismantle its main nuclear complex under a deal reached with the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. In return North Korea was promised diplomatic incentives and energy aid.

Disputes over the declaration, which was originally expected at the end of last year, have delayed the start of the final phase of the process - the permanent dismantling of the North's plants and the handover of all nuclear material.

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

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