The top US negotiator for talks on North Korea's nuclear program will make a rare visit to that country this weekend to inspect ongoing work to disable its main nuclear reactor, a senior State Department official said Tuesday.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will be the highest-level US official to check on the work to make North Korea's Yongbyon reactor unusable, a key milestone in the international bargain that North Korea made to get rid of its weapons in exchange for economic aid and other perks.
Hill was making the quick visit in between diplomatic meetings in neighboring Japan and South Korea, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the previously unannounced plans. North Korea invited Hill for only his second visit as an end-of-the-year deadline nears for Pyongyang to declare the extent of its once-secret nuclear program.
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