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US envoy in Pyongyang to discuss reactor closure

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US envoy in Pyongyang to discuss reactor closure

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The chief US envoy for the North Korean nuclear talks is headed for Pyongyang to discuss the next steps in the disarmament deal. Chris Hill said the six party talks will probably resume next month but only if Pyongyang keeps its promise to shut down a nuclear reactor.

He will be the most senior state department official to visit North Korea in five years. Then, his predecessor James Kelly confronted Kim Jong Il’s regime with evidence of its covert uranium enrichment programme. North Korea conducted its first nuclear test last October, prompting a flurry of negotiations leading to the disarmament agreement in February.

A diplomatic source in the country has said Pyongyang is ready to seal the reactor at Yongbyon, 100 kilometres north of the capital, as 17 million euros of frozen funds is being returned to North Korea.