China joint team to visit North Korea nuclear site

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BEIJING, Nov 26 (Reuters) Countries seeking to push forward a nuclear disarmament pact with North Korea will send a joint team to the North's Yongbyon complex to assess steps to cripple the atomic complex, China announced today.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the joint team would travel to Yongbyon from Tuesday ''to gain an on-the-ground understanding of the progress of disablement work of the nuclear facilities,'' the Xinhua news agency reported.

The three-day visit marks another step under a February deal reached at six-party talks between North and South Korea, the United States, host China, Japan and Russia. China did not say who would be on the team.

In exchange for ''disabling'' a reactor and plutonium production facilities at Yongbyon, the impoverished North will receive 1 million tonnes of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid.

The United States will also move towards taking North Korea off a US terrorism blacklist.

REUTERS ARB ND1432

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