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Progress Possible In Coming North Korea Nuclear Talks February 3, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.

SEOUL (AP)–The main U.S. negotiator in the North Korean nuclear talks said Saturday he believes the coming international arms talks with the communist state could produce real progress.

“I think we do have some reason to believe we can make some progress,” said Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill upon arriving in Seoul to coordinate strategies for next week’s six-nation talks in Beijing.

Hopes are higher than ever that the discussions could yield concrete results amid indications that Washington and Pyongyang have narrowed differences over a key financial dispute that has hindered negotiations.

Earlier this week, the two sides held bilateral talks on the row in Beijing. The meetings ended inconclusively, but officials indicated that enough goodwill was generated to prevent the issue from disrupting the nuclear negotiations.

“From all accounts it was a very useful couple of days’ discussions,” Hill told reporters.

The negotiations, involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the U.S., have made little headway since their first and only agreement in September 2005, in which North Korea said it would give up its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

Progress stalled soon afterward because of Pyongyang’s objection to U.S. financial restrictions targeting the North for its alleged counterfeiting of U.S. currency and money laundering.


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