Wednesday, October 01, 2008

U.S. Envoy to Bring New Proposal to N. Korea

The chief U.S. nuclear negotiator with North Korea will propose a face-saving compromise during a trip Wednesday to the isolated communist nation to try to salvage the derailed disarmament pact, U.S. officials said.

Envoy Christopher Hill said his goal was to persuade North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan to agree to Washington's demand for a verification system to account for the North's nuclear arsenal. But he acknowledged it would be a difficult task.

The North has rejected U.S. requests on verification and accused Washington of not living up to its end of the deal and removing North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism. It recently reversed the process of dismantling its nuclear facilities.

"We are in a very difficult, very tough phase of negotiations," Hill told reporters Tuesday night after meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Kim Sook, to discuss ways to persuade the North to return to the disarmament process.

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