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Six-Party Talks Begin Today

Posted July. 26, 2005 03:08,   


North Korea and the United States held bilateral discussions at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on July 25, one day before the fourth round of the six party talks aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.

Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s chief delegate to the talks, met his U.S. counterpart Christopher Hill and explored questions such as if the other party truly intends to resolve the nuclear issue, what Pyongyang wants in exchange for dismantling its nuclear program, and what Washington can offer in return.

Hill reportedly asked about Pyongyang’s attitude toward the U.S. proposal at the previous talks last June and its recent suggestions on replacing the existing armistice with a peace treaty to end the Korean War, and disarmament talks. Pyongyang’s response was unknown.

Prior to the discussions between the U.S. and the North, South Korea and the U.S. had bilateral discussions at the breakfast table at Korean delegates’ place of accommodation to work out detailed strategies for the six-way talks.

The delegates from six countries will attend the opening ceremony of the talks on the morning of July 26 at Diaoyutai and will start discussions right away.

The Sankei Shimbun newspaper from Japan reported on July 25 that the South Korean government asked the U.S., Japan, China, and Russia, four of the participants in the six-party talks, to supply heavy oil to North Korea if it abandons its nuclear weapons program for three years until South Korea completes the construction of electricity transfer facilities and starts providing electricity to the North.

The newspaper said the U.S. hesitated to approve the proposal, and the Japanese government also assumed a cautious attitude since it would probably shoulder most of the expenses.

Jong-Koo Yoon Hun-Joo Cho jkmas@donga.com hanscho@donga.com