SEOUL, South Korea – Negotiations are set to begin this week between the two Koreas, the United States and regional partners to iron out the details of an aid-for-disarament deal with North Korea, a top South Korean nuclear envoy said Monday.
The two-day talks — set to open Tuesday at the truce village of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas — are a follow up to a February agreement under which Pyongyang agreed to abandon its nuclear program and allowed the return of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency in exchange for aid and diplomatic concessions.
The two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, will on Tuesday begin discussing "how to give energy aid to the North," South Korea's top nuclear negotiator, Chun Yung-woo, told The Associated Press.
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North Korea has already received 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil from Seoul in return for the shutdown of its sole operating nuclear reactor last month.
The energy-starved North is to eventually get further energy or other aid equivalent to 950,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in return for irreversibly disabling the reactor and ending all its nuclear programs, but has yet to set a date by when it will disable its nuclear facilities.
Japan has opted out of the aid provision part of the deal, citing a lack of progress by North Korea in resolving the issue of abductions of its citizens by Pyongyang during the 1970s and 1980s.
Chun, who is due to chair the meeting, said the talks would be "businesslike" with all side bringing ideas on how to move forward.
Formal nuclear talks are due to resume in the first week of September.
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