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U.S. prods North Korea on nuclear deadline

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Written on 10:02 PM by yahoo

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In a last-minute nudge to North Korea, the U.S. State Department said Sunday it was "unfortunate" that Pyongyang had not supplied a complete declaration of its nuclear programs before a Monday deadline but signaled it would continue disarmament talks with its allies.

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A satellite image of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Under a deal struck in February, North Korea began to disable its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon -- which produced weapons-grade plutonium for the bomb it tested in 2006 -- in exchange for economic and energy assistance. But it has yet to document its past and present nuclear secrets, another condition of the deal.

"It is unfortunate that North Korea has not yet met its commitments by providing a complete and correct declaration of its nuclear programs and slowing down the process of disablement," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in a written statement Sunday evening.

"We will continue to work with our close allies Japan and South Korea, and partners China and Russia, as we urge North Korea to deliver a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear weapons programs and nuclear weapons and proliferation activities and complete the agreed disablement."

Washington has signaled that it was willing to let that deadline slide by a few days, saying the most important goal was a full and complete declaration.

"The United States is committed to fulfilling our obligations under the Six Party agreements as North Korea fulfills all its obligations," Casey said.

Sunday's statement follows a December 1 personal letter from U.S. President George W. Bush to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, urging his government to fulfill its end of the bargain.

North Korea responded two weeks later in a verbal statement, restating its plans to follow through with the deal and calling on the United States to do the same, according to senior State Department officials

from cnn

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