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South Korea, U.S. Say Six-Party Talks Will Not Collapse

Posted February. 15, 2005 22:35,   


South Korea and the U.S. share the view that North Korea’s nuclear declaration was aimed at strengthening its bargaining power and agreed to make concerted diplomatic efforts through other nations involved in the six-party talks to make the North return to the table.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reached the agreement after a one-hour meeting on February 14 in Washington.

They reconfirmed the principle of pursuing a diplomatic and peaceful solution to North Korean nuclear issues and reached the consensus that China’s role was very important, said Ban.

In addition, the White House and the State Department briefed the media on the same day that the U.S. would continue to monitor North Korea’s illegal activities, and that participating nations have agreed that the North should not be rewarded for returning to the talks.

In the meeting, Rice made it clear that the U.S. would not let the six-party talks collapse, and that the principle of nuclear-free-zone on the Korean peninsula must be sustained. She also warned of the possibility of the North’s attempts for nuclear proliferation and Ban agreed with them.

Rice said that U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill was named as the new leader of the U.S. delegation to the six-party talks.

Ban and Rice have decided to hold a strategic dialogue by vice ministers on a regular basis in order to specify further the future of the alliance between the two nations. Also, a summit meeting between South Korea President Roh Moo-hyun and U.S. President George W. Bush was scheduled for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit talks in November in Busan.

In the meantime, White House spokesman Scott McClellan and State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, without making direct comments on the question regarding the possibility of imposing economic sanctions on North Korea, responded that the U.S. would closely monitor the North’s illegal activities related to counterfeiting, weapons of mass destruction, and drugs, for the sake of U.S. citizens and allied nations.

Boucher added that he was not aware of how much pressure would actually be applied in the crackdown on illegal activities by North Koreans, but said that the U.S. would not just sit back and watch them get away with them.

Soon-Taek Kwon maypole@donga.com