October 7, 2008

North Korea, US ‘Showing Flexibility’ in Verification Talks – Kyodo

Text of report in English by Japan's largest news agency Kyodo

Seoul, Oct. 7 Kyodo - South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan said Tuesday that the United States and North Korea have shown flexibility in talks aimed at resolving the dispute over the verification of information the North has provided about its nuclear programmes.

The US position "remains unchanged in substance, but is showing flexibility to the fullest possible limit," Yu told a parliamentary committee.

Yu also said North Korea is also showing flexibility.

Yu dismissed as "far from being true" some media reports that North Korea made an important proposal or delivered an ultimatum to top US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill, who made a trip to the North last week.

"Discussions Assistant Secretary Hill had with North Korea only centred on the issue of verification" Yu said.

On Monday, the Chosun Shinbo, a pro-Pyongyang daily in Japan, reported that North Korea seems to have delivered an ultimatum to Hill regarding a formula for the peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Yu declined to disclose the content of Hill's talks in Pyongyang, saying countries involved in the six-party process are reviewing the results of Hill's talks in the North.

After returning from Pyongyang on Friday, Hill just said he held "very substantive and lengthy" discussions with North Korean officials.

The six-way denuclearization talks have stalled due to differences between Washington and Pyongyang over the verification of the North's nuclear declaration.

The standoff delayed the removal of North Korea from the US blacklist of terror-sponsoring countries, which in turn prompted Pyongyang to begin work to restore the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which was in the process of being disabled as part of a six-party deal.

The six-party talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan, and Russia.

Originally published by Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 0729 7 Oct 08.

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