The fifth round of six-party talks aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear issue kicked off on November 9 at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing, China.
In the opening ceremony, China suggested that discussions on how to facilitate an implementation of the joint statement of the fourth six-party talks be held in three phases. In his speech, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Chinas chief negotiator to the talks, said, China proposes that the talks proceed in the following manner: First, chief negotiators from each country shall come up with frameworks; second, a working-level group consisting of experts shall work on detailed plans; third, the detailed plans shall be submitted to the meeting of chief negotiators.
South Koreas chief negotiator Song Min-soon, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, suggested in the plenary session on November 9, We propose discussions be focused on three themes: dismantlement of North Korean nuclear programs, normalization of relationship between concerned parties (relationship between North Korea and Japan as well as relationship between North Korea and the U.S.), and energy and economic assistance to North Korea. That way, well be able to take concrete steps toward implementing the joint statement.
In the plenary session, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, the chief negotiator of North Korea to the six-party talks, took issue with the recent remarks of U.S. President George W. Bush on the North Korean leader, National Defense Committee Chairman Kim Jong Il. President Bush called Kim Jong Il a tyrant. A South Korean official participating in the talks said, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim brought up the issue, but there was no discussion on the issue.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. envoy to the six-party talks, made it clear that the U.S. would not accept North Koreas demand that light water reactors be provided first and the North will abandon its nuclear weapons subsequently.