A senior American envoy has prolonged his visit
to North Korea, in an effort to keep Pyongyang from unraveling a major deal to
get rid of its nuclear weapons. At the same time, military talks between North
and South Korea have stalled and a South Korea media report quotes intelligence
officials who say the North appears to be preparing a missile test. VOA Seoul
Correspondent Kurt Achin reports.
Undersecretary of State Christopher Hill extended his stay in North Korea by at
least a day Thursday - continuing negotiations involving a stalled nuclear
Hill met with Kim Kye Kwan, his negotiating counterpart in
six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons capabilities
altogether. Last week, North Korea ejected international inspectors from the
main nuclear facility it agreed to disable as part a deal reached in Beijing
last year. It warned it would resume reprocessing activity before the end of
Hill is trying to get the North to agree on verification steps
to confirm a nuclear declaration Pyongyang made this year is accurate.
Tuesday, a senior American official said North Korea may be enticed to submit a
verification agreement to China, if the United States removes the North from a
State Department list of nations accused of sponsoring terrorism.
and South Korean military delegates met Thursday for an hour and a half in the
border-straddling village, Panmunjeom, where an armistice was signed to pause
the 1950's Korean war. A formal peace has never been declared.
Korea's representative, Pak Rim Su, said the talks come at a significant time.
He says the North-South relationship is in a very serious situation. He says
the current discussions could "greatly effect" the bilateral
North Korea halted most contact with the South, earlier
this year, when South Korean President Lee Myung-bak made transfers of food and
other aid contingent on the North's cooperation on the nuclear issue. The
North's military has refused any cooperation on a probe into the July shooting
of a South Korean tourist by a North Korean soldier in a jointly managed resort
South Korea's military envoy, Lee Sang-chul, agreed Thursday's
contact is important. Lee points out the meeting is the first in eight months.
He says the South has high expectations for the talks and hopes they are sincere
The talks North-South ended with no significant
Separately, South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo cites unnamed
government officials as saying there are signs North Korea may be preparing a
long-range missile test. The report described, in detail, apparent North Korean
moves to renovate a missile testing site on its east coast. Two years ago, the
North conducted an unsuccessful test at the site of a long-range missile
hypothetically capable of reaching the continental United States.
Korea will not confirm the missile-site report.