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Six Parties Inch Closer to Verification Guideline

Posted July. 12, 2008 07:43,   


Chief negotiators of the six-party talks on North Korea`s denuclearization Friday convened a meeting for the second day in Diaoyutai, China, considerably narrowing down their differences over the verification mechanism guideline for the content of the communist country’s declaration of nuclear programs.

In response, member countries of six-party talks will hold a working-group meeting to devise a protocol for future verification activities.

According to sources, North Korea agreed with much of the United States’ demand that the verification system and activities should begin before it is removed from the list of terrorism sponsoring states, slated for Sept. 11.

“North Korea is well aware that its removal from the list of terrorism sponsoring states will not be possible, unless it meets the United States’ demands,” said a diplomatic source.

The participation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and non-nuclear countries, such as South Korea and Japan, in the verification process will be the crux of upcoming negotiations.

During Friday’s talk, the chief negotiators also discussed the issues of providing economic and energy aids to North Korea.

However, Japan, which should shoulder the burden of providing 200,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, insisted that it would not participate in providing the energy aid unless a considerable amount of progress is made on the issue of North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese nationals.

“Unless progress is made on the issue of North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese nationals, we cannot and will not provide energy assistance to North Korea,” said Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura.

A Japanese foreign ministry official also told reporters in Beijing the same day that progress on the abduction issue is essential for Japan to provide economic or energy assistance to Pyongyang.

On the issue, some member countries, such as the United States, reviewed the possibility of sharing Japan’s contributions among the five member countries. However, China, the host nation of the six-party nuclear talks, strongly expressed its discontent over Japan’s attitude, saying that it is excessively obsessed with the bilateral issue and is avoiding its responsibility.

“Many critics point out that the principle of not bringing domestic politics and bilateral issues to the table of the six-party talks should not be broken,” said a government source.