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U.S. officials tour N. Korea nuclear site

September 13, 2007|From the Associated Press

SEOUL — North Korea showed visiting U.S. officials everything they asked to see at its main nuclear complex during an inspection Wednesday to determine how to disable the facility so it cannot produce more bombs, the State Department said.

The U.S. officials, joined by Chinese and Russian experts, were to continue their tour of the communist nation's Yongbyon nuclear site today before returning Friday to the capital, Pyongyang, for discussions with North Korean officials, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington.

In July, North Korea shut down its sole operating reactor at Yongbyon, which produced plutonium for bombs. The site includes facilities for reprocessing nuclear fuel, and there are two long-dormant construction sites nearby for larger reactors.

The U.S. and North Korean nuclear envoys agreed in talks this month in Geneva that North Korea's nuclear facilities would be disabled by year's end.

After years of delays, North Korea has recently displayed an unprecedented willingness to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for political and economic concessions.

However, it has yet to commit to giving up nuclear bombs it is believed to have already built.

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