North Korea has again denied it has a uranium enrichment program, a South Korean official said Sunday, just days before Pyongyang's year-end deadline to declare its nuclear programs.
The US accused North Korea in late 2002 of seeking to secretly enrich uranium in violation of an earlier nuclear disarmament deal, an accusation that sparked the latest nuclear standoff. The North has consistently denied it has such a program, which it would need to include in the nuclear declaration.
"The North maintains its previous stance over (the uranium enrichment program)," the Foreign Ministry official said after a Friday meeting in Seoul with Sung Kim, the US State Department's top Korea expert who visited North Korea last week. The official asked not to be identified, citing policy.
North Korea has pledged to declare all its nuclear programs by year's end under an international disarmament agreement. In exchange, Washington and regional partners promised Pyongyang energy aid and political concessions, including its removal from a US terrorism blacklist.
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