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'Bush accepts nuke deal with N Korea'

President Bush approves the deal between Christopher Hill and his counterpart Kim Kye-Gwan, which is aimed at breaking a deadlock in nuclear disarmament talks: White House.

world Updated: Apr 15, 2008 12:19 IST

"President George W Bush accepts a tentative deal reached by US and North Korean negotiators which is aimed at breaking a deadlock in nuclear disarmament talks," the White House has said.

"I believe so, yes," spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Monday, when asked if Bush approved of the agreement in Singapore last week between Christopher Hill and his counterpart Kim Kye-Gwan.

The talks aimed to resolve differences over the communist North's nuclear declaration, which was promised by the end of last year under a six-nation agreement.

The US says that it should clear up suspicions about an alleged secret uranium enrichment programme and about suspected nuclear proliferation to Syria. The North denies both charges.

Hill refused to reveal any details of the Singapore talks but said that the two sides "definitely made progress."

Numerous media reports say that under a pending deal, the North would "acknowledge" concerns about uranium and proliferation in a secret side-agreement with the US.

The main declaration, to be delivered to six-party talks host China, would refer only to the acknowledged plutonium-based weapons operation.

Perino said on Monday that Hill had "good meetings" last week but that the US is still waiting for a "complete and accurate declaration."

Under the deal the US would start the process of removing North Korea from its list of terrorism-sponsoring states in return for a satisfactory declaration and for the disablement of Pyongyang's main plutonium-producing plants.