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`6-way Talks Should Resume Early Next Month`

Posted November. 24, 2008 03:10,   


President Lee Myung-bak agreed with U.S. President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso to resume early next month the six-way nuclear talks on ending North Korea`s nuclear program.

The three leaders held talks on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru. They agreed to resume the long-deadlocked six-party dialogue early next month, said the presidential offices in Seoul and Washington.

President Lee`s spokesman Lee Dong-kwan told reporters, "The leaders of the three countries have reached the consensus that North Korea`s nuclear program must be dealt with within the framework of the six-party talks. China, the host country for the talks, will play a role in resuming negotiations."

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino also said in a briefing that the parties have agreed to resume negotiations in early December on verification of the North`s declared nuclear programs and disablement of its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

President Lee said at the tripartite summit, "The Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations (of South Korea) had difficulty dealing with North Korea in the early stages of their administrations. North Korea policies should be pursued in a sincere and consistent manner."

President Bush urged South Korea, the United States and Japan to jointly maintain a strong verification system that forces the North to deliver on its promises and verify North Korea`s nuclear programs under the principle of "action for action."

Through firm cooperation, the three countries must show North Korea at the resumed talks in December that they will keep their word by any means once a promise is made, he said.

At the proposal of Prime Minister Aso, the three countries agreed to hold the three-way talks every year concurrently with the APEC summit.

In separate face-to-face talks with Bush the same day, President Lee said, "I don`t advocate a hard-line stance toward Pyongyang. I try to correctly handle North Korea and wait for Pyongyang to change its attitude."

On the ratification of the free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States, Lee said Washington, as an advocate of globalization and free trade, must not revert to protectionism. "I hope the new Democratic U.S. administration will positively review the matter after completing the transition of power."