The United States is trying to realize full implementation of an accord for denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula, top US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill said on Monday.
"It would be in 2008 we would really want to wrap this up," Hill told a press conference on his return from six-party talks in Beijing.
"The sooner the better, I mean, from my humble perspective. But in 2008 we would hope to wrap this up. I hope it wouldn't take 12 months," Hill said.
The Bush administration has been trying to complete the implementation of the complex nuclear deal signed at the fifth round of six-party talks on Feb. 13 this year before the next US presidential elections in November 2008.
All six parties --North Korea, South Korea, China, the United States, Japan and Russia -- agreed to take the following actions in parallel in the initial phase:
North Korea will shut down and seal the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility and invite back the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) personnel to conduct monitoring and verifications.
North Korea will discuss with other parties all its nuclear programs, including plutonium extracted from used fuel rods.
North Korea and the United States will start bilateral talks to resolve pending bilateral issues and moving toward full diplomatic relations. The US side will begin removing the designation of North Korea as a state-sponsor of terrorism and terminating the Trading with the Enemy Act concerning North Korea.
North Korea and Japan will start bilateral talks to normalize their relations in line with the Pyongyang Declaration, based on settling unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern.
All parties should provide emergency energy assistance to North Korea in the initial phase.
Working groups are to be set up for issues such as a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, normalization of relations among countries involved, establishment of a peace and security mechanism in Northeast Asia and economic and energy cooperation among countries concerned.
North Korea must declare all nuclear programs and disable all existing nuclear facilities, including graphite-moderated reactor sand its post-treatment plant, and other parties must provide a total of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid, with the initial shipment of 50,000 tons.
On July 14, North Korea shut down its main Yongbyon nuclear reactor as promised.
Hill said that "realistically speaking, if we can get phase two done by the end of the year, then we can address some of the other elements that are there," citing as an example the planned setting up of a Northeast Asian security forum and signing of a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War.
"And realistically speaking, if we can't get that (second phase) going by the end of '07, it's going to be tough to complete it by the end of '08, which would be our target time," Hill said.
Hill acknowledged that there will be difficulties for implementing the plan. "I suspect we're going to have some eleventh-hour negotiations," he said of the process of putting together a so-called "sequencing plan" with the disabling of North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
"So let's see if we can get something that makes sense by early September and then try to implement it," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency July 24, 2007)