Thursday, February 7, 2008


The chief U.S. envoy at North Korean nuclear talks urged Kim Jong-il’s government to hand over a promised list of its nuclear efforts, saying yesterday that nuclear negotiators are working to make sure “Pyongyang lives up to its word.”

Christopher R. Hill told lawmakers that six-nation disarmament talks are at a “critical, challenging” point. “There is some sense of urgency,” he said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

The United States says the North has balked at providing a “complete and correct” disclosure of nuclear programs to eventually be dismantled. Washington has refused to take the North off a U.S. terrorism blacklist, a coveted goal of Pyongyang, until negotiators have the list.

“Let me be clear,” Mr. Hill said. ” ‘Complete and correct’ means complete and correct. This declaration must include all nuclear weapons, programs, materials and facilities, including clarification of any proliferation activities.”

He made his remarks a day after the director of national intelligence, Michael McConnell, questioned North Korea’s commitment to the stalled talks.

Mr. McConnell also said the U.S. intelligence community thinks North Korea continues to work on a secret uranium-enrichment program and to sell its weapons around the world.

North Korea has begun disabling its main nuclear facilities under an agreement with the other countries at the international arms talks — China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, as well as the U.S.

Most of the tasks of disabling those facilities have been completed, Mr. Hill said, with American experts working to ensure the plutonium-making facility would require at least a year to become operational again.

But the talks have faced an impasse since the North missed a Dec. 31 deadline on the declaration.

North Korea claims it gave the U.S. a nuclear list in November. Washington says Pyongyang never produced a complete list.

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