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US, N Korea to Meet in Geneva
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The United States and North Korea will hold talks on normalizing their relations on September 1-2 in Geneva, the US State Department said yesterday.

The meeting of the US-N Korea working group is called for under a multilateral agreement in which Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for the prospect of economic and diplomatic benefits.

The so-called six-party agreement was negotiated among the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia.

US State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos announced the Geneva meeting, which had been expected to take place by the end of August. He gave no details on who will represent the United States or exactly what will be discussed.

Under a February 13 six-party deal, the US and North Korea agreed to start talks aimed at "resolving pending bilateral issues and moving toward full diplomatic relations."

North Korea in July shut its Yongbyon reactor complex that produces weapons-grade plutonium and received 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil under the first phase of the deal.

However, the next steps of the agreement - which call for Pyongyang to provide a complete declaration of all its nuclear programs and to disable all existing nuclear facilities - are expected to be much more difficult to carry out.

(China Daily via agencies August 28, 2007)

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