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4-party talks might resume this year

Posted November. 27, 2000 13:50,   


The Korean government plans to hold four-party peace talks soon with the agreements reached with the United States and China and to officially propose the talks to North Korea, it was learned Monday. The talks have been suspended since the sixth round of meetings in August 1999.

Accordingly, the four-party talks, involving South and North Korea, the United States and China, are expected to be held this year or early next year at the latest.

A high-ranking government official noted that the inter-Korean and the North-U.S. relationships have improved significantly since the disruption of the previous talks and that Pyongyang's stance against the U.S. military presence in Korea, which was a major stumbling block to the four-way conference, has been changed, so the main obstacles have been removed for the two Koreas to take the initiatives in building a peace mechanism and the United States and China take supportive roles.

Hence, the Seoul government judged that the time is ripe for resuming the four-party peace talks, the official added.

The official also said that Seoul had discussed in depth the resumption of the talks with Chinese officials, on the sideline of the ASEAN Plus Three (Korea, China and Japan) summit, and that as a result of the talks, the government had obtained a positive commitment from Beijing that if Seoul promote the four-way peace talks, it would give a positive support, adding that Korea already had reached an agreement with Washington on the particular matter.