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Minister Ban Expects Six-party Talks to Resume around mid –September

Minister Ban Expects Six-party Talks to Resume around mid –September

Posted August. 30, 2005 06:50,   


On August 29, regarding the speculation that the fourth round of six-party talks would resume around mid-September and not this week as scheduled, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ban Ki-moon said that he expects the talks would continue around that time.

Prior to attending the meeting of National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), Minister Ban told reporters that it is physically difficult for the six-way talks to resume in early September as Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill (U.S. chief negotiator to the six-party talks) and the Chinese diplomatic official have to join the U.S.-China summit to be held in Washington starting September 5.

Reuters reported that in response to the question of the timing of the six-party talks resumption, North Korean Foreign Minister Baek Nam Soon also had told foreign reporters in Pyongyang that the talks would be reopened right before late September, and that if things go well, the talks could start again in mid-September.

In addition, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who has been visiting Pyongyang since August 27, said, “It doesn’t matter when the talks resume.”

A senior official of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) explained, “It’s difficult to reopen the talks this week as the six countries agreed in early August,” and added that a more specific schedule for the resumption of the six-party talks can be available only after examining the matter that Foreign Minister Wu Dawei discussed with the North Korean authorities.

Regarding the reason behind the delay of the resumption of the talks, the senior official remarked, “The Ulji-Focus Lens (Korea and U.S.’s joint military drill) is only an external factor, and core issues such as the scope of the North’s abandonment of the nuclear program are the real concerns.”

Meanwhile, on August 28 on CNN, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S., Zhou Wenzhong said, “The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula should be the aim of six-party talks,” and added he thinks that the countries participating in the talks are very close to drawing joint statement for the denuclearization. However, Ambassador Zhou didn’t mention the reason why the current situation is being viewed as a “level close to agreement.”

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com srkim@donga.com