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Six-way talks plan welcome, Nakasone says

Kyodo News

Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone welcomed plans Tuesday to hold the next round of six-party denuclearization talks from Dec. 8.

He also reiterated Japan’s hopes to put in writing a verbal agreement on verification methods, including the collection of samples, reached between Washington and Pyongyang.

While falling short of explicitly acknowledging that chief delegates are set to meet in Beijing on Dec. 8, Nakasone said he was aware of such media reports and said “Japan has no objection to that (schedule) and we think it’s fine.”

Asked about Japan’s expectations for the meeting, Nakasone said, “Since we have heard that the United States and North Korea have agreed on the collection of samples and other verification details, we hope those would be firmly put in writing.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday the next round of six-way nuclear talks will be held Dec. 8 in China. The talks have been stalled since the chief envoys last met in Beijing in July.

North Korea and the U.S. have been at odds over the verification mechanism. Pyongyang’s official media repeated Monday the country’s rejection of sampling at its nuclear facilities to verify information, saying the October deal with the U.S. includes no paragraph referring to the collection of samples.

The second phase of the talks obliges Pyongyang to disable its facilities and declare all of its nuclear programs. In the third phase, it must give up all its fissile material.