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U.S., North Korean Envoys Meet Ahead Of Six-Nation Talks --> U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill in Beijing today (AFP) August 13, 2007 -- Envoys from the United States and North Korea met in Beijing today ahead of six-nation talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

U.S. envoy Christopher Hill said his meeting with Kim Kye Gwan was "very businesslike" and aimed to smooth the way for the two-day talks later this week in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang.

"We want a clearer idea on what's involved in [North Korean] disablement, what's involved in the declaration," Hill told reporters ahead of his talks today in Beijing, "so that when we have our meeting -- the six-party meeting -- which depending on scheduling we hope can happen either the last week of August or the first week in September, we can make real progress."

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, says North Korea, in a first step, has shut down all nuclear facilities at its main Yongbyon reactor.

(AP, dpa)