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Hill to visit Japan, China
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US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will visit Japan and China this week for further talks on the settlement of nuclear issues in the Korean Peninsula, State Department spokesperson Gonzalo Gallegos said Tuesday.

Hill is due in Japan on Thursday where he will conduct six-party talk consultations with the Japanese government as well as some South Korean officials, before going to China on Friday.

Hill is not scheduled to meet Kim Kye Gwan, chief negotiator of North Korea, said Gallegos.

But "there's always possibilities," he added.

Hill's scheduled visit to Japan and China follows a two-day visit to Pyongyang last week by Sung Kim, head of the Office of Korean Affairs under the State Department, during which the two sides held "successful" discussions about the details of the disablement of nuclear facilities in North Korea.

Under a 2005 multilateral agreement, North Korea promised to abandon all its nuclear programs in exchange for diplomatic and economic benefits.

Under a subsequent accord, North Korea agreed to produce a "complete and correct" declaration of all its nuclear programs and to disable its nuclear facilities as a prelude to their eventual dismantlement.

In exchange, North Korea will receive heavy fuel oil and other economic assistance.

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2008)

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