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Kim Jong Il Shows Intention of Conditional Return to Six-Way Talks

Kim Jong Il Shows Intention of Conditional Return to Six-Way Talks

Posted February. 22, 2005 22:46,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il said Monday that his country would willingly return to the six-party talks when the talks’ conditions are made mature by cooperative efforts from the relevant countries. He also voiced that he is expecting the U.S. to show credible sincerity, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang’s official news agency, said on February 22. According to the agency, Kim received a message by President Hu Jintao to call for the North’s return to the six-party talks delivered by the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s international department Wang Jiarui.

Kim’s remarks can be interpreted as a setback from his previous stubbornness toward the six-party talks. Still, given the large opinion discrepancy between the North and the U.S., it is early to expect a prompt resumption of the talks.

The news agency quoted Kim as saying that the North would continue to stand for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and that its position to settle the nuclear issue in a peaceful way remains unchanged. “We have not objected to the six-party talks and have done our best for the success of the talks,” according to the KCNA.

Hu said in his message that it is desirable for both China and the North to together stand for a nuclear-free and peaceful Korean peninsula for mutual interests, and to seek ways to stop the nuclear issues and the reasonable worries of the North through the six-party talks.

Meanwhile, Wang, who returned to Beijing, said that the North suggested sincerity and concrete actions of relevant nations as conditions for its return to the talks.

“The North’s announcement on February 10 was mainly about its non-attendance at the talks, but this time, the North Korean leader seems to be focusing more on attending the talks, despite having strings attached, which I believe can be seen as a positive message,” the minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ban Ki-moon, said before the Unification, Foreign Affairs, and Trade Committee at the National Assembly.

Ambassador to South Korea, Christopher Hill, who was also recently appointed the top nuclear negotiator representing the U.S., stressed that the six-party talks are a path that the North must go through to be a member of the international community, and that the North ought to take the first step by nullifying its nuclear programs first, in a seminar at the Westin Chosun Hotel, Seoul, organized by the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Alumni Association

Yoo-Seong Hwang taewon_ha@donga.com yshwang@donga.com