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South Korea to send nuclear envoy to North Korea

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Officials in Seoul, South Korea, announced Tuesday that a South Korean team is expected to visit North Korea on Thursday to consider buying unused fuel rods from a plutonium-producing reactor. The rare visit is part of an ongoing nuclear disarmament process. North Korea's openness to the visit is being perceived as a positive message to Washington in the run-up to President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

The South Korean team will be headed by a Foreign Ministry official and is expected to visit the nuclear complex at Yongbyon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang, reports CNN.

The group led by Hwang Joon-kook, the director general of the ministry's North Korean nuclear affairs bureau, will travel to North Korea via Beijing on Thursday. No date for their return was given.
The Foreign Ministry said the visit was agreed upon during bilateral talks last month in Beijing. The group was to survey and study the technical and economic feasibility of removing North Korea's fuel rods for use by South Korea.
The removal of ... North Korea's unused nuclear fuel rods from its Yongbyon nuclear facilities is part of the process agreed upon during six-party talks that also involved China, Russia, the United States and Japan.

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