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US: Six-party talks to formalize agreement on verification of nuclear disarmament
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The United States expects the next meeting of the six-party talks over nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular could formalize an agreement over verification of nuclear disarmament, said U.S. State Department on Monday.

"And we hope and would expect that the verification protocol would be formalized in the six-party sense at the next heads of delegations meeting," spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.

"What we hope is going to happen at this next six-party heads of delegation meeting is that this is agreed upon and put in a form that all the members in the six parties can validate," McCormack added.

The next meeting of the six-party talks will be held on Dec. 8 in China, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Sunday, as she and President George W. Bush flew back from Peru's Lima, where the president took part in the 16th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed in 2007 in talks with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia to disable its Yongbyon nuclear facilities in exchange for economic aid and political concessions, including its removal from the U.S. terrorism list.

After U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill paid a three-day visit to Pyongyang in early October and struck a verification deal with the DPRK to save the stalled six-party talks, the Bush administration dropped the country from the terrorism blacklist on Oct. 11.

But the two countries have disputed over the verification issue, when the U.S. side claims inspectors, according to the deal reached with the DPRK, could take samples away from the nuclear facilities. The DPRK, however, insists that it never agreed to remove the samples.

The DPRK Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the main points of the verification deal includes confined verification in the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, the methods of verification include field visits, confirmation of documents, and interviews with technicians.

The verification process would only be initiated after the economic compensation -- 1 million tons of fuel oil or equivalent -- had been delivered, the statement said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2008)

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