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US delegation in N Korea for nuclear talks

world Updated: Apr 22, 2008 11:06 IST

AP
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A US delegation on Tuesday departed to North Korea to press for a list of the communist nation's nuclear programmes, the latest sticking point at international nuclear disarmament talks.

The US delegation led by Sung Kim, the top US State Department expert on the Koreas travelled to Pyongyang by land across the heavily fortified inter-Korean border, said Max Kwak, a spokesman at the US Embassy in Seoul.

Kim is to stay in North Korea for three days to discuss the North's nuclear declaration and how to verify it, Kwak said. Kim was to return to Seoul on Thursday and fly back to Washington the following day, according to Kwak.

After arriving in Seoul yesterday, Kim said he hoped his trip would bring "significant progress."

International talks on ending the North's nuclear activities have been stalled for months after Pyongyang missed a December deadline to give a declaration of its nuclear programmes as it promised to do in exchange for political concessions.

Recently, the US has backed away from its demand for a "complete and correct" declaration that would cover all North Korea's past activities, including allegations of a secret uranium enrichment program and nuclear cooperation with Syria.

Now, US officials say North Korea would simply "acknowledge" the allegations and that controls would be set up to verify it does not engage in such activities in the future.