Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Progress made in Geneva talks: Hill


US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, third from left, leaves with US delegation members from the US mission in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday. Hill is in Geneva for a two-day US-North Korea bilateral working group meeting.


The US and North Korea resumed nuclear weapons talks yesterday, with the chief US negotiator hoping to nail down progress achieved on the first day.

"We're going to try to summarize yesterday's discussion," US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said. "In particular, we want to make sure that we have a complete understanding about what the various meetings are going to look like."

Hill spoke with reporters before going to the North Korean Mission to UN offices in Geneva where he joined Kim Gye-gwan, the head of the North Korean delegation, for the second day of talks.

Hill said on Saturday evening that enough progress was made that he could look forward to a successful meeting later this month when both sides meet with Japan, Russia, South Korea and China in six-nation talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program and improving relations between Pyongyang and other countries.

Hill said both countries still have a long way to go.

"But I think we reached substantial understanding between the two of us of what needs to be accomplished in the months ahead" he said.

Kim said the first session had gone well, and "I expect this meeting will have a fruitful outcome."

Hill said yesterday that improving US relations with North Korea will depend on other progress in the talks, saying it "is a relationship that we will continue to try to build step by step with the understanding that we're not going to have a normalized relationship until we have a denuclearized North Korea."

"To the extent that we can move quickly to denuclearization, we can move quickly to normalization," he said, adding they had discussed a range of issues Saturday, including what needs to be done for North Korea to be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

He said they also had a good discussion of what North Korea wants to achieve and how it can improve relations with Japan.

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