Rice Urges N. Korea to Accept Full Verification of Nuclear ProgramBy VOA News
24 July 2008

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says it is now up to North Korea to accept the terms of a process to verify its declaration of its nuclear activities.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) and U.S. chief negotiator Christopher Hill attend the 15th ASEAN Regional Forum Retreat meetings in Singapore, 24 Jul 2008Rice and the foreign ministers of the other five nations involved in the North Korean nuclear disarmament talks met Wednesday in Singapore at the sidelines of a regional Asian forum (Association of South East Asian Nations).

She told reporters Thursday that North Korean officials are under no illusions that "the ball is in their court" to respond positively to a draft proposal to verify last month's declaration. Rice said no one is going to trust any of Pyongyang's claims, especially about how much plutonium it had produced.

She said the protocol will be a strong one that will reveal "what has happened there and is still happening."

Wednesday's meeting also included the foreign ministers from Japan, China, South Korea and Russia. It was Rice's first face-to-face meeting with Pak Ui-chun, her North Korean counterpart.

During talks held earlier this month, Pyongyang agreed to disable its main plutonium-producing facilities by the end of October, and allow on-site inspections to verify its declaration.

Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. negotiator for the talks, says he hopes there can be an agreement on the verification issue by mid-August.

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