Negotiators seeking to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue are
making progress on how to verify Pyongyang's own account of its nuclear
activities. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.
After two days
of negotiations in Beijing, the envoys from six countries have reached
what the Chinese side calls a "principled consensus" on verifying North
Korea's declaration of its nuclear activities.
was presented to China at the end of June, one day before Pyongyang
destroyed the cooling tower at its main Yongbyon nuclear facility.
Washington has called for the document to include a complete and accurate accounting of all of North Korea's activities.
are many outstanding verification issues, according to Robert Gallucci,
who was a top U.S. North Korea negotiator during the Clinton
Gallucci, who is now dean of Georgetown
University's School of Foreign Service, says one priority is to find
out whether North Korea has as much plutonium as it says it does.
world would be interested in being able to confirm or verify that the
plutonium amounts are correct and begin to look at what circumstances
or arrangements there might be for disposition of separated plutonium,"
He says another major verification question is the
question of highly-enriched uranium, a program Pyongyang is accused of
pursuing in secret.
And, yet another issue involves questions
regarding North Korea's nuclear assistance to Syria. All this, he
says, touches on how the international community will monitor
Pyongyang's nuclear activity in the future.
"In other words, how
can we assure ourselves that there won't be more exports of nuclear
material or equipment, there will not be a secret uranium enrichment
facility somewhere, or a secret reactor?" he asked. "What sort of
access will be granted, and to whom? Is the IAEA to be the executive
agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or is there to be some
sort of ad hoc regime?"
In return for declaring and disabling
its nuclear facilities, North Korea is to receive aid and diplomatic
incentives. Among those incentives are U.S. moves to drop Pyongyang
from the Trading with the Enemy Act and to remove it from the state
sponsors of terror list.
The nations involved in the talks are
the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.
The current meeting came after a nine-month stalemate.
spokesman Qin Gang says the six parties are hoping to issue some sort
of joint document at the end of this round of talks, which is expected