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S. Korea, U.S. to resume talks on renewing nuclear accord

All Headlines 17:20 December 30, 2013

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will resume negotiations with the United States next week to rewrite a decades-old nuclear accord under which it is forbidden from enriching uranium or reprocessing spent fuel for peaceful purposes, the foreign ministry said Monday.

The two-day meeting, the ninth of its kind, will begin on Jan. 7 in the central city of Daejeon, home to South Korea's major nuclear power research facilities, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"In the upcoming talks, the heads of the two parties will have in-depth discussions in order to come up with an advanced, mutually-beneficial accord," the ministry said in a statement.

The negotiations are aimed at renewing the civil nuclear agreement, dubbed the "123 agreement," under which South Korea committed itself to nuclear nonproliferation in return for technological cooperation from the U.S.

The current accord was established in 1974 and was set to expire at the end of 2014, but the nations agreed earlier this year to a two-year extension to buy more time to bridge their widely divergent views.

Seoul is seeking the right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and enrich uranium for commercial purposes, but Washington has repeatedly resisted the calls, citing proliferation concerns.

Seoul hopes to address its fuel storage problem, secure reliable access to enriched uranium for local nuclear reactors and boost the competitiveness and exports of the local nuclear industry.


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