US envoy to visit North Korea for talks


The US nuclear envoy for North Korea, Chris Hill, is set to visit Pyongyang in the coming days for talks with North Korean officials in a bid to salvage crumbling six-party denuclearisation talks.

A US official, who declined to be identified, said Mr Hill had consultations in New York with other nations involved in nuclear talks with North Korea and they decided it would be a good idea for him to go to Pyongyang.

The State Department refused to confirm Hill was going to Pyongyang but said he was travelling to Seoul, the South Korean capital, on Monday.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency said earlier this week that Pyongyang was expelling agency monitors from its Soviet-era nuclear plant that produces plutonium and planned to start reactivating it next week, rolling back a disarmament-for-aid deal it struck with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

That prompted South Korea's foreign minister to say on Friday that international talks on ending North Korea's nuclear arms ambitions could be heading for a breakdown.

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon told the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday there was still a possibility of keeping the so-called six-party talks on track, although he made clear Pyongyang felt it was being slighted.

"(North Korea) will continue to make every sincere effort towards the denuclearization of the whole Korean peninsula, but will not be indifferent to an attempt to offend our dignity and self-respect, and violate its sovereignty," he said.