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Six Parties Seek to Verify North Korea's Nuclear Program


Six countries meeting in Beijing are trying to work out how to best verify North Korea's account of its nuclear program. The six parties are set to continue this week with meetings in Beijing.

The first day of six-party talks about North Korea's nuclear program ended without definite results.

"We discussed fuel oil, we discussed the issue of disablement schedule, and we discussed verification," said U.S. envoy Christoper Hill. " And so, on fuel oil and disablement, there were no really contentious issues. So, we went right to the issue of verification, and what the Chinese are going to try to do is put together a draft and circulate something tomorrow, so that we can discuss it tomorrow [Tuesday]"

Hill said the Chinese document will focus on how international inspectors will carry out their verification tasks in Pyongyang. North Korea has been reluctant to allow international inspectors to take nuclear samples out of the country for testing.

The six countries involved in the talks are the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia. Hill said the Russian delegation made especially helpful suggestions.

"The Russians certainly had some thoughts on this, they have a lot of experience on verification," he said.

In 2006, Pyongyang conducted an atomic test explosion. But last year, under the six-party agreement, North Korea agreed to disable its nuclear reactor in exchange for aid. More recent contention is focused on the disarmament steps.

This is expected to be the last round of six-party talks under U.S. President George Bush, who steps down from office in January.

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