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(LEAD) Hill won't visit Pyongyang, Beijing: Embassy

All Headlines 10:13 April 01, 2008

(ATTN: CORRECTS name of U.S. envoy in 2nd para)

SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- Washington's top nuclear envoy has no plans to visit Pyongyang or Beijing as part of his North Asian trip this week, the U.S embassy here said Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill is due to arrive in Seoul later in the day to attend the launching ceremony of the Asia Society's Korea Center.

But local media speculation has focused on his efforts to kick-start stalled six-way talks on the North Korean nuclear crisis, including suggestions that Hill may meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye-gwan during his upcoming Asian tour..

"He will fly directly to Indonesia on April 3 after his stay in Seoul," Max M. Kwak, press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul said.

The official would not comment on whether Hill will hold talks with Kim in a third country.

Hill's trip to Asia comes amid reports that North Korea and the U.S. are in the last stage of negotiations on how to resolve the spat over an agreed-upon declaration of the secretive regime's nuclear program.

The North says it already provided a list as agreed, but the U.S. refuses to accept it, claiming it does not address suspicions focusing on an alleged uranium-enrichment program and nuclear proliferation to Syria. Pyongyang flatly denies the allegations.

Hill and Kim met last month in Geneva to narrow their differences but produced no deal.

The Chosun Ilbo, the largest-circulation daily here, reported Tuesday that Hill presented the names of North Korean nuclear experts involved in the transfer of nuclear technology to Syria during his recent talks with the North Korean negotiator.

South Korean government officials said they have no information on that.
lcd@yna.co.kr
(END)

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