The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has invited
nuclear experts from the United States, China and Russia to survey
its nuclear facilities, the chief US nuclear negotiator said
US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said the team
of experts will go to the country Tuesday for an initial four-day
He made the announcement during a briefing on activities of US
President George W. Bush, who is in Sydney attending the economic
leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
"The overture is another significant step toward the
denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," said the US
Hill said the invitation from the DPRK was a result of a US-DPRK
meeting in Geneva last weekend.
The experts will engage in discussions on the scope and
technical feasibility of disabling the nuclear facilities, Hill
said, adding that a full review of the facilities will hopefully be
completed by Dec. 31.
Under a deal reached in February after years of negotiations,
the DPRK agreed to abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for
fuel and other aid.
The United States agreed in return to open talks on establishing
normal diplomatic relations with the DPRK.
Asked by reporters earlier this month on whether the United
States would remove the DPRK from a list of states accused of
sponsoring terrorism in reward for the nuclear declaration and
disablement, Hill said he did not want to get "more specific."
The DPRK had repeatedly demanded its removal from the list which
is considered a key element in the relationship between the two
countries that have been enemies for 50 years.
The United States and the DPRK held two-day meeting in Geneva
early this month. After the meeting, Hill told a press conference:
"One thing that we agreed on is that the DPRK will provide a full
declaration of all of their nuclear programs and will disable their
nuclear programs by the end of this year, 2007."
Hill said his talks with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan
had been "very good and very substantive," which provided a better
chance of success for the next round of six-party negotiations aimed at
denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Besides the United States and the DPRK, the six-party
negotiations also involve China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and
(Xinhua News Agency September 8, 2007)