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Rice Arrives in Singapore Ahead of Ministers' Meeting on North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Singapore to meet with the foreign ministers of other nations involved in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.

The talks among foreign ministers of North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States are scheduled for Wednesday. The ministers are expected to discuss ways to verify North Korea's declaration of its nuclear activities, submitted last month - six months past the December deadline.

This will be the first time Secretary Rice has seen her North Korean counterpart, Pak Ui-chun. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has called the meeting very significant. But Rice on Monday downplayed it, saying she would not call the meeting historic or even consequential.

She has said she will make it clear that North Korea must meet its obligations and answer all questions about its nuclear program.

The meeting will be the highest-level gathering of the six parties involved in the talks since they began in 2003. But the State Department says the meeting will not replace an anticipated formal conference at the ministerial level.

During talks held earlier this month, Pyongyang agreed to disable its main plutonium-producing facilities by the end of October, and allow on-site inspections to verify its declaration.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.