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Six-Nation Nuke Talks Begin in Beijing

Six-Nation Nuke Talks Begin in Beijing

BEIJING - Six nations whose combined will could determine the fate of Northeast Asia will meet at one table in the Chinese capital Wednesday to discuss how to resolve the issue of North Korea¡¯s nuclear weapons program.

Some 100 delegates from the United States, both Koreas, China, Japan and Russia will convene on the ground floor Fang Fei Garden at Daiyutai State Guesthouse in the western part of the city in the morning, starting the three-day talks.

They are expected to exchange keynote speeches throughout the day, each lasting for about 20 minutes, which will be translated into five languages by 30 interpreters present.

Here, the parties involved are expected to make their stances on the North Korean nuclear issue clear. South Korea, the U.S. and Japan are expected to make a strong case for dismantling the North¡¯s program. Pyongyang is expected to stress that it requires a security guarantee first.

On the eve of talks a welcome dinner hosted by China was held and attended by all six nations Tuesday night at Daiyutai.

Earlier in the morning as a preliminary to the talks, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan compared their keynote speeches and discussed their joint strategies during a two-hour meeting at the South Korean Embassy.

The trio also discussed the procedural aspects of the talks, including the format of bilateral contacts within the three-day talks where Pyongyang and Washington may communicate more directly on their needs and wants.

The 13-member North Korean delegation led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il flew in at 10 a.m. from Pyongyang. Ri Gun, Deputy Director General of the American Affairs Bureau and a U.S. expert, waved at some 100 journalists at Beijing International Airport but did not give any comments on the prospects of the talks.

The 19-member South Korean delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck also conferred with Russia at the latter¡¯s embassy during a 9 a.m. meeting to better understand each others¡¯ expectations for this round of talks.

A separate South Korea-China meeting was arranged at the Chinese Foreign Ministry headquarters at 3:45 p.m.

The Chinese team, consisting of 11 delegates headed by Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, also had bilateral contacts with the Japanese, Russians and North Koreans on Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly leads a 25-member U.S. delegation to Beijing. The Japanese team, led by Mitoji Yabunaka, Director General of the Asian and Oceanic Affairs Bureau, has 23 members, all from the Foreign Ministry. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov is accompanied by 20 diplomats.

Due to the great international attention being paid to the North Korean nuclear crisis, 500 members of the international media, led by those from Japan and South Korea, have stormed Beijing to cover the talks.

© Scoop Media

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