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Negroponte in Seoul for nuclear talks

world Updated:
AFP
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United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte arrived in South Korea on Monday for talks expected to focus on implementation of the North Korean nuclear agreement.

During his three-day stay, Negroponte is scheduled to meet President Roh Moo-Hyun and other officials.

"I look forward to the discussions I'll be having today and tomorrow," he said in a brief statement to reporters at the airport.

Later Monday, Negroponte was to meet Defence Minister Kim Jang-Soo to discuss security issues including the planned relocation of US troops stationed in South Korea to a new base, Kim's office said.

On Tuesday Negroponte will meet US business representatives and attend a lunch with Vice Foreign Minister Cho Jung-Pyo.

Foreign Minister Song Min-Soon is currently on a trip to the United States and Russia.

Negroponte's Asia tour, which included stops in Japan and China, follows the February 13 agreement under which North Korea promised to give up its nuclear programme in return for economic and diplomatic incentives.

The United States and North Korea were to begin talks later Monday in New York on normalising relations, one of the conditions contained in the accord.

In Tokyo, the deputy secretary of state said Washington would still press North Korea over uranium enrichment even though officials have toned down their allegations that Pyongyang was running a secret programme.

The United States claimed in 2002 that North Korea was running a covert programme to produce highly enriched uranium in addition to its declared plutonium operations, triggering the collapse of a 1994 disarmament deal.

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