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Six-Way Talks End Without Joint Statement

Posted August. 29, 2003 23:13,   


The two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia agreed in principle to hold a second round of six-way talks to resolve the North`s nuclear issue and to discuss date and venue issues through diplomatic channels.

The six nations unveiled some details of the agreement Friday to reporters, emerging from the three-day multilateral meeting held at Diaoyutai State Guest House, Beijing, China.

Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck, Seoul’s chief negotiator for the talks said, “The six parties agreed to hold a second round of talks, but the venue and date would be settled after further consultations. Most held the view that the second round of talks would take place within two months, but there was no agreement on that,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck, Seoul’s chief negotiator for the talks. As a result, it is highly likely that the second round of six-way talks will take place in October.

Lee said that the six nations reached a consensus on the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula through a peaceful resolution to the North’s nuclear issue, the need to address the North`s security concerns, a step-by-step approach towards a comprehensive solution and efforts to refrain from any action to escalate tensions.

Although the phrase, included in the detailed agreement of refraining from any action that would aggravate the situation, seems to target the North, this will be applied to other nations surrounding the Korean Peninsular including the US as well.

The agreement on a step-by-step and parallel approach to the solution suggests the possibility that the US will make a concession from its previous position. The US has insisted on the North’s dismantlement of its nuclear weapons program first.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, its chief negotiator, also revealed some details of the nuke meeting, making it clear that concerned parties would continue to iron out their differences and a second round of talks would take place at the earliest date possible.

“The North and the US agreed not to take any action that would escalate the tension as long as nuclear talks continue. In addition, the US clearly stated that it had no intention to attack the communist country and change its regime,” he added.

On the other hand, ahead of the closing session of the six-way talks, the state-run North Korean Central News Agency reported, “The US is putting the fate of a second round of talks at risk by rejecting its will to abandon its hostile policy toward the North.” The KCNA`s report somewhat contradicted the outcomes of the six-way talks announced by South Korea and China.

“The US insisted that it will discuss a security guarantee and economic cooperation issues only when the North scraps its nuclear weapons program first and that the issue of normalization of relations with the US should be discussed along with other issues such as improved human rights and missile exports,” the NCNA reported.

In the meantime, foreign news service networks such as CNN, CBS and the Associated Press reported on August 28 that the North has admitted to possessing nuclear weapons and threatened to conduct nuclear testing by quoting US senior officials. However, the vice spokesperson at the US State Department said, “The news report hasn`t been confirmed yet.”

Yoo-Sung Hwang Young-Sik Kim yshwang@donga.com spear@donga.com