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Bosworth`s NK Visit: Same Comments, Different Views?

Posted December. 12, 2009 09:31,   


On the visit to North Korea by U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth, the North’s Foreign Ministry said yesterday, “We agreed with the U.S. on the need to resume the six-party nuclear talks and the significance to adhere to the joint statement of September 19, 2005.”

“The two parties also reached a deep understanding, narrowed differences in opinion, and found common ground via practical and frank discussions.”

The ministry’s comments were almost same as the announcement Bosworth made in a news conference Thursday. “We identified some common understandings and the need for the role of the six-party talks and the need for, and the importance of, implementation of the joint statement. We were able to exchange views in a candid and business-like fashion.”

Washington and Pyongyang apparently reached an agreement on the announcement before going public with their stances.

In a meeting with journalists, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday, “Bosworth’s visit to North Korea was for exploratory talks, not negotiations. I think that for a preliminary meeting, it was quite positive.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley described the visit as a “good start.”

Both North Korea and the U.S. have shown positive responses to their first bilateral talks under the Obama administration. Nevertheless, the two sides did have stark differences.

North Korea said, “We agreed with the U.S. to continue cooperating on narrowing remaining differences.”

When asked in a news conference if both sides held discussions on additional talks, Bosworth said no. He instead emphasized cooperation with neighboring nations, saying, “I’ll let other parties to the six-party talks know the results of my visit to North Korea and provide advice.”

They also had different opinions on what should come first, denuclearization or a peace treaty.

Pyongyang said, “The U.S. and North Korea discussed a variety of issues including the signing of a peace treaty, normalizing relations, economic and energy aid, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Bosworth said, however, that they discussed all elements of the joint statement, including the denuclearization, establishment of a peace regime, normalization of relations among all the parties concerned, and economic assistance.

On the differences of recognition, a high-ranking government official in South Korea said, “If North Korea keeps sticking to arguments different from those of the other parties concerned, it will be hard to resolve the nuclear issue. We need time to watch how North Korea responds.”

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