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China`s Affirmative Response to Five-way Talks

Posted June. 17, 2003 21:28,   


Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan and his Japanese and Chinese counterparts on Tuesday agreed that holding five-way talks, consisting North Korea, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan, is necessary to settle North Korea`s nuclear ambitions.

Mr. Yoon, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and they decided to persuade North Korea into accept Five-way talks.

Stressing the principle of the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis, Yoon said, "China`s efforts to make the North participate in multilateral dialogue is all the more important than ever."

"Five-way talks including South Korea and Japan would benefit North Korea. Dialogue and pressure are needed to bring Pyongyang to such talks," the Japanese Foreign Minister said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said, "If the U.S. and the North agree to five-way talks, then we will welcome South Korea and Japan to the talks." He also added that efforts should be made to dispel North Korea`s concern over its security in order to achieve the five-way talks.

China`s departure from its previous insistence on three-way talks among North Korea, the U.S. and China, raises the possibility that the international community will influence the North to accept multilateral dialogue by both persuasion and pressure.

The North Korean delegation was led by North Korean Amb. Huh Jong, on behalf of North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement released at the end of the two-day talks, foreign ministers from 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations said that they considered North Korea`s any attempt to develop nuclear weapons a serious threat to the peace on the Korean Peninsula and in other East Asian nations. The representatives urged the five nations –the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan – to guarantee the survival of the Kim Jong-il regime if the North dismantles its nuclear weapons in verifiable and irrevocable ways.

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com