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Discussion on Peace Issues Scheduled

Posted February. 22, 2007 03:42,   


Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said on February 21 that the issue of peace on the Korean peninsula will be discussed in depth during his visit to Washington in March.

Song plans to visit Washington early March, meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and discuss how to proceed with the six-party talks and how to change the ceasefire agreement on the peninsula into a peace treaty for the sake of addressing North Korean nuclear issues. He announced that in a briefing at an office building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) in Jongno-gu, Seoul on that day and said, “I am keeping in mind holding an additional meeting to discuss a peace treaty after having a meeting with the six-party participants’ foreign ministers.”

The meeting, to be attended by foreign ministers of the participants in the six-way talks, is scheduled to open if North Korea shuts down nuclear facilities by April 13 according to the agreement on the initial action for the implementation of the 9.19 Beijing joint statement. Therefore, it is expected that high-ranking officials of the South and North, the U.S., and China will hold a meeting to discuss the possibility of a peace treaty as early as late April.

When asked about the timing of discussing the renouncement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, Song answered, “We will discuss that. One thing for sure is that nuclear weapons and nuclear programs must be all abolished.”

Regarding North Korea’s highly enriched uranium (HEU) program, Song admitted its existence, saying, “The concept of nuclear program includes a concept map, production facilities, and actually produced nuclear materials. So, it is not appropriate to officially say what stage the North is at.”

Previously, the National Intelligence Service reported to the National Assembly`s Intelligence Committee that they understand that North Korea has an HEU program.

However, Unification Minister Lee Jae-jung caused a stir by saying at a National Assembly Committee for Unification, Foreign Affairs and Trade meeting on February 21, “We don’t have any information on the North having an HEU program or pursuing one.”

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