Pyongyang to 'disable' N-programme

North Korea also pledges full declaration of programme in new deal.

    Kim Gye Gwan is heading North Korea's negotiating team at the talks being held in Geneva [AFP]
    North Korea has already shut down a key nuclear reactor at Yongbyon under an agreement reached on February 13.

    The US has suspected North Korea, which conducted its first atomic weapons test in October, is developing a highly enriched uranium programme.

    Suspension

    When asked whether the declaration would have to include the suspension of all uranium activities to be satisfactory to Washington, Hill replied: "Full means full".

    He stressed that talks would continue under the six-party framework that has addressed the issue of the secretive communist state's nuclear programme, with the next plenary session expected in Beijing, China, later in September.

    "Of course we will have to work out some of the details of this in the six-party process ... but we had a very good understanding of this today and an understanding that we need to pick up the pace and get through this phase in 2007," he said.

    The two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia are all involved in the multilateral process.

    Denuclearisation

    Hill said the ultimate aim was not just declarations and disabling of facilities but the full denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the forging of closer regional ties.

    "We're in this for an even broader purpose which is to help create the sense of neighbourhood and bring all the countries together" as part of a North East Asian peace and security framework, which is scheduled to be the focus of further discussions in 2008, he said.

    Japan and North Korea will meet face-to-face in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator next week.

    Ties strained

    The two countries' relations have been strained not only by the nuclear activities but also by an unresolved series kidnappings that were undertaken in the 1970s and 1980s.

    North Korea has acknowledged kidnapping 13 Japanese men to train its spies.

    Hill emphasised on Saturday that the "abduction" issue was also of great importance to the US.

    "The importance that I attach to progress on the DPRK-Japan relationship, the importance that my government  attaches to progress and to a positive atmosphere was well understood" by the North Koreans, he said.


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months