(AFP) – Sep 24, 2008
NEW YORK (AFP) — The top US negotiator on North Korea's nuclear disarmament is due to meet later Wednesday with a top Chinese diplomat on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the State Department said.
Christopher Hill, the assistant secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific Affairs, will meet in New York with China's Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei, said a State Department statement.
Hill will meet Friday with his Japanese counterpart in the nuclear talks, Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general Akitaka Saiki, on Friday, said a statement quoting the department's deputy spokesman Robert Wood.
Wood did not give any details, but both talks were likely to focus on the deadlock in the six-party negotiations involving North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, and Russia.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already spoken here with Foreign Ministers Yang Jiechi of China, the party with the most influence on North Korea, and Yu Myung-Hwan of South Korea, who are attending the UN talks.
Rice is due to consult later Wednesday with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, another partner in the six-party talks.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday that North Korea had kicked out UN inspectors from the Yongbyon nuclear plant, removed its surveillance equipment there, and planned to reintroduce nuclear material.
It was the latest defiant step from North Korea toward its partners in the six-party negotiations that produced an aid-for-nuclear disarmament deal last year.
The hardline communist state, which tested an atomic weapon in October 2006, began disabling its aging reactor and other plants at Yongbyon last November under the pact.
But it announced last month it had halted work in protest at Washington's refusal to drop it from the US blacklist of countries supporting terrorism, as promised under the deal. It says it now aims to restart the reactor.
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