The chief U.S. envoy on North Korea's nuclear disarmament says
Pyongyang will soon deliver a long-delayed declaration of its nuclear
activities, paving the way for a resumption of formal disarmament talks.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill made the announcement Friday in Beijing after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei. Hill told reporters the six-nation disarmament talks could start shortly after the North's declaration is received.
He arrived in Beijing from Japan where he met Japanese and South Korean officials to discuss the formal talks to be hosted by China.
After the meeting, Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tokyo was willing to accept an incomplete declaration from North Korea so the talks can move forward.
The declaration is part of an agreement to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for energy assistance.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency says North Korea is expected to issue the declaration next week. A government official says the U.S. has agreed to take steps to remove the regime from its list of terrorism-sponsoring nations, in exchange for the list.
Yonhap is also quoting a diplomatic source close to the talks, who says Pyongyang wants the United States and the other four nations involved in the talks (Japan, Russia, South Korea and China) to shoulder the financial burden of destroying a cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.
Pyongyang was to hand over a full declaration of all its nuclear activities by the end of 2007.
The U.S. State Department says a visit to the Korean peninsula last week by its Korean affairs director, Sung Kim, yielded an agreement to speed up nuclear disablement.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.