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US, Japan: North Korea Must Commit to Nuke Verification in Writing

Top U.S. and Japanese negotiators in nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea said the North must agree to a verification of its disarmament activities in writing.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and his Japanese counterpart Akitaka Saiki met Tuesday in Tokyo ahead of six-nation talks in Beijing next week.

After the meeting, the two envoys told reporters they expect tough negotiations with North Korea. They say the Beijing talks will focus on hammering out a document with a detailed list of verification measures. Hill said the North must commit in writing to allow international inspectors to take samples from its nuclear facilities.

Washington said North Korea agreed to sampling during a meeting with Hill in October, but Pyongyang denies it.

North Korea has agreed to dismantle its nuclear activities in exchange for aid and energy, but has halted the process several times.

Hill plans to hold talks Wednesday with Saiki and the South Korean negotiator Kim Sook before heading for Singapore, where he is meeting with North Korean officials.

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