The chief U.S envoy in talks to get North Korea to give up its nuclear
weapons says his discussions with officials in Pyongyang covered a lot
of ground. He says he has great concern about moves to restart North
Korea's main facility for producing material useable in nuclear
weapons. VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Secretary of State Christopher Hill returned to South Korea Friday from
three days and two nights in North Korea, where he says he discussed
the issue of nuclear verification with leaders there.
Korea submitted a declaration of its nuclear activities earlier this
year as part of a broader six-nation deal aimed at ending its nuclear
weapons capabilities altogether. Hill says he spent much of his visit
discussing the North's refusal to agree to a set of steps for
confirming the accuracy of that document.
"The discussions in
Pyongyang were quite substantive, we went into great detail on things,"
he said. "They were quite lengthy... needless to say, there's been a
lot of problems in the six-party process, so indeed we did quite a
substantial review of activities in the last couple months."
August, President Bush decided not to remove North Korea from a State
Department list of nations suspected of sponsoring terrorism.
Washington promised that step as a reward for submitting the nuclear
declaration, but says keeping that promise will not be possible unless
the declaration is verified using internationally accepted methods,
possibly including random inspections of nuclear sites.
Korea responded by reversing earlier steps it took to disable its
primary nuclear facility at Yongbyon. Last week it ejected
international inspectors and their surveillance equipment from the
site. Pyongyang warned it would resume reprocessing of spent nuclear
fuel into material useable for weapons by the end of this week.
Hill says he cannot confirm whether that is actually happening. "I
don't have any update of what is going on in Yongbyon, obviously the
issue in Yongbyon is an issue that has been of great concern to us and
obviously that is one of the points that I conveyed," he said.
was unwilling to provide details Friday about what sort of compromise
verification measures he may have proposed to North Korea. He says he
needs to brief other leaders in the six-nation process before fully
disclosing the content of his discussions. After briefing his Japanese
counterpart Friday night, Hill is scheduled to travel to Beijing on
Saturday, then return to Washington to confer with Secretary of State