Page last updated at 03:20 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 04:20 UK

N Korea nuclear talks 'to resume'

South Korea's nuclear envoy Kim Sook, in Seoul 08/07
Mr Kim spoke briefly to reporters as he left Seoul for Beijing

Six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear programme will resume on Thursday after a nine-month lay-off, South Korea's negotiator has said.

Kim Sook told reporters that envoys from the US, China, Japan, both Koreas and Russia would meet in Beijing.

The announcement came almost two weeks after Pyongyang gave the Chinese a dossier on its plutonium programme.

The North's failure to hand over details of its nuclear ambitions had stalled the denuclearisation efforts.

But Pyongyang unexpectedly produced the long-awaited document in late June.

2002: N Korea pulls out of previous deal after US accuses it of having secret uranium programme
October 2006: North Korea carries out its first test of a nuclear weapon
February 2007: N Korea agrees to end nuclear activities in return for aid
July 2007: North Korea closes its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and allows IAEA inspectors in
December 2007: N Korea misses a deadline to hand over a declaration of its nuclear work
June 2008: N Korea hands over nuclear programme details; US cautiously welcomes the move

The isolated state then followed up with the symbolic gesture of blowing up the cooling tower at its Yongbyon reactor - which was disabled last July as part of the deal brokered in the six-party talks.

The US responded by agreeing to scrap some of the sanctions it had imposed on the regime.

Analysts believe the six-party talks will now focus on how to verify the claims made by the North in the documents it has handed over.

It is thought that the papers will not contain any details of a suspected uranium enrichment programme, nor will the regime have admitted stockpiling any weapons.

"I will be in consultation with each country to secure an important bridgehead for achieving the goal that North Korea should eventually give up its nuclear weapons programmes," Mr Kim told reporters in Seoul, as he prepared to fly to Beijing.

Pyongyang agreed to scrap its nuclear ambitions early last year. In return, the other five nations involved with the negotiations agreed to provide fuel and diplomatic concessions.

Last week the regime said it could not move on to the next phase of denuclearisation until the other nations sped up their delivery of fuel.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific