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The following is from a newspaper article:

"Hill told reporters in December, after visiting North Korea, that he had not seen a draft of the declaration but that U.S. and North Korean negotiators had had extensive talks about what the U.S. expects to see in the list of nuclear programs."

I'm wondering about the past perfect form.. seems to me it may be correct to just use simple past, like below:

"Hill told reporters in December, after visiting North Korea, that he didn't see a draft of the declaration but that U.S. and North Korean negotiators had extensive talks about what the U.S. expects to see in the list of nuclear programs.

Is the reason because of 'told', to indicate that Hill told reporters after the events?
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Is the reason because of 'told', to indicate that Hill told reporters after the events?
Yes. Exactly.

CJ
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No, it's not correct, as you're losing the sequencing of the events.

General advice:
Don't try to be smarter than the editors, they are busy at writing in English for years. Learn from their work.

Hill told
had not seen a draft: before his telling
had had extensive talks: before his telling

Hill told
he didn't see a draft : at the time of his telling
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Comments  
If I may trouble you once more, is it acceptable to use just the simple past? (it seems there is little ambiguity that would result)
 Marius Hancu's reply was promoted to an answer.
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