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Fate of Further Nuke Talks Depends on Pyongyang

Posted September. 01, 2003 22:57,   


Foreign Minster Yoon Young-kwan said Monday, “It is difficult to completely rule out the possibility that another round of six-way talks on the North Korea`s nuclear issue will be stalled.”

The foreign minister answered in that way at a general meeting of a parliamentary committee, when asked by Rep. Kim Yong-gap of the Grand National Party that there is any possibility that a second round of six-way talks will not be materialized, considering the North had claimed that further talks were not needed any longer.

He added, “It is difficult to assure a six-way dialogue will continue at this point. The fate of further nuclear talks depends on which move the North will take down the road. Despite general views of all participants in the just-ended Beijing talks that it would be desirable to convene follow-up talks within two months, exact date and place for the talks haven`t been fixed yet.” Minister Yoon said that the government would make efforts to materialize further talks on the North`s nuclear issue. “At this point, it is unclear whether the North`s remarks that further talks are of no use are designed to gain the upper hand at the negotiating table,” he said.

On the North`s statement during the three-day Beijing meeting that it was prepared to declare itself a nuclear power, “The North said that it would do so if its demands aren`t fully met. However, foreign media didn`t cover the full text of the statement,” he added.

Meanwhile, deputy foreign Minster Lee Soo-hyuk, chief negotiator at the six-way talks, expressed Monday his optimistic view on future talks in his back-to-back radio interviews with KBS and SBS.

He added that the North`s claim that the US didn`t have intention of budging from its demand for Pyongyang`s abandonment of its nuclear program first is noting but rhetoric to underscore its position. “During the talks, the US showed its sincere effort to resolve the issue peacefully by taking a soft stance toward the North,” he said.

Hyung-gwon Pu Young-Sik Kim bookum90@donga.com spear@donga.com