U.S. envoy to discuss N.Korea nuclear problem in China

By RIA Novosti

Beijing : The U.S. envoy to the six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear program set off for Beijing on Thursday for a two-day visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

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Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill would hold consultations with Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei on issues relating to the talks involving the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan.

“China hopes that all six parties will continue contacts in advancing the six-nation process and achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” she said.

Hill visited Japan and South Korea before his trip to Beijing, which will be followed by a visit to Moscow.

The U.S. envoy said before leaving Seoul for the Chinese capital that the United States wants North Korea to provide a complete declaration of its nuclear programs before a new government is inaugurated in South Korea next month.

Former Seoul mayor and CEO of auto giant Hyundai Lee Myung-bak won a landslide victory at the December 19 polls. He received strong public support for his economic plans, despite a criminal probe into alleged stock manipulation.

“I think it is very desirable if we could complete the phase two even before [Lee’s] government comes in, so that by the time his government does come at the end of February, we’ll be focusing on that last stage,” Hill said.

He said Pyongyang’s failure to account for its nuclear programs was a key sticking point in the negotiations.

Under a February deal made with China, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan, North Korea was to decommission all of its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and submit a complete list of its nuclear programs by the end of 2007. Pyongyang was promised economic and diplomatic incentives in return for the measures.