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Consideration of Suspending KEDO Project

Posted June. 13, 2003 21:49,   


Senior diplomats from South Korea, the United States and Japan began the first of two days of talks on June 12 (local time) in Honolulu, Hawaii, to coordinate strategies aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and discuss the possibility of suspending construction of two light-water reactors in North Korea.

South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck is now attending the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) meeting of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan as a chief representative. He said in a briefing session on the results of the consultation with the U.S. and Japan, “During the TCOG meeting, representatives from the three nations discussed the possibility and the need of suspending construction of two light-water reactors in the North because of technical problems. But we haven`t yet reached any conclusions.”

Touching on the three nations` discussion on the North Korean nuclear issue, Deputy Foreign Minister Lee said, “The United States is clear about seeking a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue in a multilateral setting that will include all parties directly involved, like South Korea and Japan.”

He also added, “Russia has also expressed a desire to participate in multilateral talks at a time when the U.S. already proposed that the North hold five-way talks. If the North accepted expanded multilateral talks, future talks will take place in the form of six-way talks.”

Meanwhile, participants at the meeting said that the U.S. had explained the purpose of the Proliferation Security Initiative on Weapons of Mass Destruction held in Madrid, Spain. When asked the question on what role Korea is expected to play in the PSI, a Korean representative at the meeting stated, “It is difficult to tell what kind of role Korea may play because the PSI is still in its infancy.”

South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly, and Japanese Director General of Asian and Oceanic Affairs Yabunaka Mitoji headed their country`s delegations to the TOCG meeting.

The three nations will wrap up their two-day talks issuing a joint statement on June 13 after holding back-to-back meetings, including bilateral talks between the U.S. and Japan and a plenary session with all three nations.

Ki-Heung Han eligius@donga.com