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S. Korea Says North Will Submit Nuclear Declaration 'Within Days'


South Korea says the waiting for North Korea's overdue declaration of its nuclear activities is just about over. As VOA Seoul Correspondent Kurt Achin reports, negotiations to end Pyongyang's weapons programs are also set to resume.

South Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman Moon Tae-young told reporters in Seoul Wednesday North Korea is getting ready to hand over some crucial documents to Beijing.

He says "within a few days," Pyongyang will give a formal nuclear declaration of its nuclear activities to China, the host of multinational talks aimed at eliminating North Korea's nuclear programs.

The declaration is a pivotal step in the six-nation diplomatic process hosted by Beijing, and which also involves, Japan, Russia and the United States. Moon says China will circulate the nuclear declaration to the other countries soon after receiving it. He says Beijing talks can be expected to resume early next month.

Moon says the next round of talks will focus on the contents of the list, along with means of verifying their accuracy.

Senior envoys from the United States, Japan, and South Korea are scheduled to meet in Washington next week to prepare for the renewed six-party talks.

In principle, Pyongyang's declaration would wrap up the second phase of a multi-stage agreement signed last year. The deal offers the North financial and energy assistance, along with diplomatic incentives, in return for gradual moves toward ending its nuclear weapons capabilities altogether.

It remains unclear precisely how, or if, North Korea will address U.S. concerns about a secret North Korean uranium enrichment program, or its possible nuclear cooperation with Syria. Without a North Korean clarification of those items, analysts warn the Bush administration may face increasing opposition from members of Congress about fulfilling some of Washington's promises to Pyongyang.