Go to contents

Three-party Talks over NK`s Nuke Issue, Followed by Five-party Talks

Three-party Talks over NK`s Nuke Issue, Followed by Five-party Talks

Posted July. 17, 2003 21:31,   


With Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo`s visit to North Korea, the standoff over North Korea`s development of nuclear arms is likely to give way to three-way talks and further multi-party talks.

As such, there is a growing possibility that the second three-way talks involving the U.S., North Korea and China could take place in early August, followed by multi-party talks in which South Korea and Japan will also participate.

According to diplomatic sources in Washington on July 16, Washington was briefed on the results of the Chinese vice foreign minister`s visit to Pyongyang. During the visit, the Chinese envoy received an affirmative response from North Korea on a three-party meeting, to be followed immediately by five-party talks. As for the U.S., it also saw the North`s change in stance as a positive sign.

U.S. Secretary of State Collin Power is expected to decide whether to accept a three-party meeting on condition that it be followed by a five-party meeting, after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, who is due to visit Washington on July 17, the sources added.

Though North Korea claimed that it had almost finished reprocessing of spent fuel rods, the U.S. secretary of state said, "The diplomatic track is alive and well, and I expect to see some developments along that track in the very near future."

According to Japan`s Kyoto News Service, John Bolton, Washington`s undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said, "If there is a way to start at three and go to five, we are open to suggestions on it." He is also reported to have suggested that August is preferable for talks.

Quoting American officials, The Washington Post reported that, in a telephone conversation with Collin Power, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing had requested Washington to abandon its insistence on multi-party talks, saying Pyongyang had agreed to drop its demand for one-on-one talks with the U.S.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported on July 16 that the Bush administration`s top officials, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, were expected to hold a meeting at the White House on July 17 to discuss North Korea`s nuclear weapons program and decide whether to suspend the construction of light-water reactors in North Korea.

Regarding The Washington Post`s report that the U.S. administration is considering allowing thousands of North Korean defectors to enter the country, Collin Power replied that the administration was reviewing the issue of how to legally treat North Korean defectors.

The secretary of state added that he had not received any proposals from President Bush regarding the North Korean defector issue, and that the administration would continue to discuss the matter.

maypole@donga.com sechepa@donga.com