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U.S. Envoy Defends Diplomacy in North Korea

The United States ended talks with North Korea Monday without establishing a timeline for disarmament, though the Asian country has agreed to close one of its reactors. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill updates the situation.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Hopes were high that a second breakthrough would follow last week's announcement by North Korea that it had indeed shut down its main nuclear reactor. But six-party talks that followed about setting a timeline for what comes next wrapped up without an agreement.

    After returning from Beijing, U.S. envoy Christopher Hill told reporters in Washington today that he still hoped a second disarmament phase could be completed this year.

    CHRISTOPHER HILL, Assistant Secretary of State: I wanted to see us putting out a sort of target time frame. But given how we missed every deadline in the spring, I didn't think it was something I really should push on. We're discussing very much the issues at hand, and I think that's a good sign that we can make progress on denuclearization.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Last February, the countries that make up the six-party talks — the U.S., North and South Korea, China, Japan and Russia — reached a deal. North Korea agreed to dismantle its Yongbyon nuclear facility and all other nuclear programs and open the secretive country to international inspectors in return for aid, trade and improved diplomatic relations.

    That agreement came four months after North Korea announced on state television that they had exploded a nuclear device. Another round of six-party negotiations is scheduled for September.

    For more on all of this, I'm joined by Ambassador Christopher Hill. He is assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. He is the top negotiator with North Korea.

    Ambassador Hill, good to have you with us again.

  • CHRISTOPHER HILL:

    Thank you very much.

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