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Korean nuke talks hopefully to end with a joint document
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Negotiators to the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue said on Saturday they have reached certain agreements and a joint document would probably be issued on Sunday.

The latest version of a draft joint statement that included the views of all the parties was distributed by China on Saturday night, according to Japan's top negotiator Kenichiro Sasae.

"We think that the draft reflects the views of all the parties...the delegations still have to study the draft and report to their respective governments, and discussion on the draft will continue on Sunday morning," said Sasae after attending a banquet hosted by the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.

US top negotiator Christopher Hill said that the parties had no substantive differences and what he cared about was the amount of details in the statement.

"We don't really have any substantial disagreements among the parties...we are pretty satisfied that we know the direction we are heading...and what we are going to accomplish by the end of the year," Hill told reporters after meeting with Dai and other five top negotiators at the banquet.

"I think there will be some kind of statement. But I just don't know how much detail there will be in the statement," Hill said.

After the dinner they had a short meeting, said Hill, adding that the Chinese side showed other parties its current progress on making the statement.

"I think there'll have to be some additional meetings, and then we will have to get on with some of the tasks that we've laid out, " he said.

Details, such as what types of terms are necessary to fulfill the disablement and the sequence of the disabling actions were discussed in the meeting, Hill said.

Hill said that he is definitely going to leave tomorrow as he has "other obligations back in States".

Chief negotiator of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Chun Yung-woo said at a press briefing earlier on Saturday night that the six parties have reached some agreement on denuclearization and declaration.

Chun declined to disclose the details of the document, but said, "The most important part of it will be the timing of the declaration and the disablement of nuclear facilities."

According to Chun, discussions on the draft have proceeded well so far and the talks would very much likely end on Sunday.

Russian chief negotiator Alexander Losyukov also expected a joint statement to be released on Sunday after continuous discussions.

"All six nations will continue to discuss the draft joint statement in the evening and tomorrow," said Losyukov earlier on Saturday night, adding that it would be possible to have the statement released tomorrow.

He also refused to reveal the contents of the draft joint statement.

The six delegation heads met on Saturday morning to discuss the previous versions of the draft joint statement put forward by China. No meetings were held in the afternoon, as the parties had to study the draft joint statement until Dai's meeting and then attend a banquet that lasted about two hours.

According to a press releases from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Dai said that a fresh round of talks was "vitally important" and there were even harder tasks ahead to be accomplished.

"Your diligent work will be paid back and China highly appreciates the constructive efforts you have made to promote these talks," Dai told the negotiators.

The negotiators said that the negotiations in the past three days were "pragmatic" and "useful" and pledged that their will and determination to resolve the nuclear issue under the framework of the six-party talks would never change. They would continue the hard work until progress could be achieved.

The second phase of the sixth round of the six-party talks involves China, the United States, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the ROK, Russia and Japan. Talks started on Thursday and are scheduled to end on Sunday.

So far, the DPRK, whose attitude is crucial to the success of the draft joint statement, has made no public comments.

(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2007)

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