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Fresh round of nuclear talks to open today
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The upcoming talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue will focus on producing a protocol and a roadmap to verify the nuclear program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), chief US envoy Christopher Hill said on Sunday.   

"We need to get a verification protocol. We need to have a clear roadmap of what we need to do to complete the verification," Hill told reporters Sunday night.  

After a five-month suspension, the fresh round of six-party nuclear talks will open Monday afternoon.

Stressing the talks now stood at "a very important phase", Hill said, "We've got a lot to do during this round. We look forward to getting the remaining disablement activities done.  

"Most importantly, we look forward to getting the verification stuff done," Hill said. "I hope we can get through this and really register some progress."   

"We need to figure out how to achieve this objective. It is an unanimous view that we need to proceed with this," Hill said, after a trilateral meeting with the counterparts of Japan and the Republic of Korea(ROK) and a dinner with Russian representative.  

In the trilateral meeting, Hill said, he "briefed them on the meeting I had with the DPRK representative in Singapore on Thursday."  

"We also talked about how we will strategize in the coming couple of days and what we are hoping to get out of the six-party meeting," Hill said.  

Hill is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart on Monday morning, hours before the start of the talks.  

Hill didn't expect any breakthrough from the Monday talks as he said  "traditionally we don't get a lot of progress on the first day."  

DPRK on Saturday vowed to ignore Japan at the talks, citing Tokyo's refusal to send aid to the country as part of the disarmament agreement.  

"I don't think it's for North Korea to be including or excluding anyone in the six-party talks. They need to deal with us all," Hill said.  

Launched in 2003, the six-party talks was a vice-minister level mechanism aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2008)

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