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Japanese Envoy Sure of Progress in Fresh Nuclear Talks
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Chief Japanese negotiator Kenichiro Sasae on Thursday expressed his optimism that the fresh round of six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue will make headway.


"The Japanese side hopes and is sure that the talks could make progress," Sasae told reporters in Beijing.


The fresh phase of six-party talks will resume later Thursday, focusing on initial steps to implement a 2005 joint statement.


But top US envoy Christopher Hill downplayed a quick settlement of the Korean nuclear issue.


"There is no success only when we implement the full September 19 joint statement," Hill told reporter earlier Thursday.


Under the joint statement reached on September 19, 2005, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.


Hill denied an alleged signing of memorandum at a meeting between the US and North Korea in Berlin last month.


"We had good discussions and talked about what we might do in the next six-party talks. We didn't sign anything," said Hill at a hotel in downtown Beijing.


Reports claimed the US and North Korea inked a memorandum during Berlin talks, agreeing that Pyongyang's first steps toward its denuclearization and US energy support should begin simultaneously.


(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2007)

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