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US, Japan, S. Korea Agree on North Korean Nuclear Verification


Envoys from the U.S., Japan and South Korea say they will push North Korea to allow inspectors to take samples from its nuclear facilities to verify claims that it has ended its nuclear weapons program.

Following talks in Tokyo Wednesday, the three envoys said they would seek a written document detailing the issue of taking samples.

Akitaka Saiki, Japan's chief nuclear negotiator, says he and his counterparts - Christopher Hill of the United States and South Korea's Kim Sook - agree they must take samples from North Korean facilities to confirm Pyongyang's declaration of its programs. He says they will introduce their demands when the six-nation nuclear talks resume next week in Beijing.

Wednesday's meeting took place on the eve of one-on-one talks between Hill and his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye Gwan in Singapore.

Washington says North Korea agreed to sampling during a meeting with Hill in October, but Pyongyang denies it. The agreement cleared the way for Washington to remove Pyongyang from a terrorism black list. In return, North Korea halted moves to reverse disablement measures at its main nuclear reactor and allowed international inspectors to resume monitoring at the facility.

The U.S., Japan and South Korea, along with China and Russia, have been negotiating with the isolated communist regime to end its nuclear activities in exchange for energy and other benefits.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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