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Hill Arrives in Beijing for Korean Nuclear Issue Working Group
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Christopher Hill, the senior US representative for the Korean nuclear issue, arrived in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the working group meetings and the six-party talks which restart next Monday.



Speaking to reporters at the airport, Hill said he would meet on Tuesday with Mohammed el-Baradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. el-Baradei returned yesterday from a two-day visit to North Korea which Hill called "obviously a good sign."


The six-party negotiators will convene for three working group meetings starting on Thursday.


Hill announced he would attend the denuclearization working group, northeast Asia security working group and finally the new round of six-party talks.


The last round of talks saw all the parties finally reach a breakthrough, agreeing on the initial steps needed to realize the full implementation of the 2005 joint statement.


The steps included the forming five working groups, each tackling a specific role, namely the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the normalization of North Korea-US relations and a similar group regarding North Korea-Japan relations, economic and energy resources cooperation, and peace and security for northeast Asia.


The two working groups aiming at normalizing relations between North Korea and allies US and Japan already met for the first time in New York and Hanoi.


Hill revealed he would meet with Chinese Foreign Ministry officials and with South Korean delegates on Thursday evening, adding that he would likely meet with Japanese chief negotiator Kenichiro Sasae on Friday.


More bilateral meetings with other delegations, including North Korea, would occur over the weekend, Hill said.


Addressing the "Macau issue," namely lifting the freeze on North Korea's accounts there, Hill announced he fully expected the sanctions to be lifted within 30 days as promised.


(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2007)

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