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N Korean declaration a breakthrough, more efforts needed
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Pending issues

A new round of six-party talks was likely to be called soon after the declaration. But denuclearization still needs more breakthroughs over many thorny issues to be made.

The US is to verify the accuracy of the declaration in the next weeks and North Korea should provide full cooperation, otherwise the United States would take corresponding measures, Washington said.

There are media reports saying US and North Korea officials have held several negotiations on the verification issue but to date no information is available about whether consensus or understanding has been reached.

Other issues including accelerating the process of disabling the nuclear facilities of North Korea and the providing of energy and economic assistance to the country by relevant parties are also to be addressed.

Political issues need more wisdom compared to the technical issues. The Bush administration's request of removing North Korea from its terrorism and sanctions blacklists may face challenges in the Democrat-dominated Congress.

Otherwise, the Bush administration is counting its White House days. Would the new host of the Oval Office take a new line toward North Korea?

Tokyo, supposed to normalize relations with North Korea under the six-party agreement framework, has been critical of any US move to de-list North Korea until it accounts for all Japanese civilians believed kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s.

All those variables may slow down or even reverse the disarmament of North Korean nuclear program and will prove it to be a very long and exhausting process.

(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2008)

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