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6 Nations Agree to Tackle Nuke Issue Peacefully

6 Nations Agree to Tackle Nuke Issue Peacefully

BEIJING - The six nations taking part in talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear row agreed Friday (Aug. 29) to pursue a step-by-step, parallel solution to the standoff and decided to hold a second round of talks without fixing a time or place.

A four-point summary statement by China, the host of the talks, was released at the closing session at the Fang Fei Garden inside the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where diplomats from the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, Japan and China wrapped up the three-day meeting.

It stipulated the six nations¡¯ support for a peaceful solution of the nuclear crisis, consensus on the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the need to address the North¡¯s security concerns.

¡°Consensus was formed to pursue a step-by-step approach towards a comprehensive solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis,¡± Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck, Seoul¡¯s chief negotiator for the talks, said.

The statement represents the joint will of Washington and Pyongyang, he added.

Although not part of the statement, Lee said the six parties agreed to hold a second round of talks, but the venue and date would be settled after further consultations.

¡°Most held the view that the second round of talks would take place within two months, but there was no agreement on that,¡± he said. The six parties also agreed to avoid moves that could worsen the crisis as talks go on.

Negotiations continued into the last minutes of the scheduled session on the timing for a second round of talks _ with all parties but Pyongyang having settled on October _ as well as the format of the statement.

In the end, the North withdrew its position of holding talks later, and the chairman¡¯s summary statement, rather than a joint statement signed by six parties, was agreed upon.

Asked if the U.S. had changed its position that North Korea must give up its nukes first for a solution of the crisis, South Korea¡¯s chief delegate said the joint statement stipulating a parallel solution reflected the position of all six parties including the U.S.

The talks were moderately successful given that the six parties conducted sincere and down-to-earth discussions, as well as agreeing to hold further talks. North Korea, for the first time since crisis began last October, indicated a willingness to give up its nuclear programs, although it cited familiar preconditions such as the U.S. softening its North Korea policy.

The U.S., although showing no major change from its position that it is not ready to offer the written security guarantee demanded by the North, had meaningful exchanges with Pyongyang.

China saw its role enhanced by keeping the talks in one piece until the end, unlike the trilateral talks in April which broke off less than two days in.

Japan is likely to take the abductee and the missile issue to the next round, and Russia is seen as having tilted towards its Cold War ally North Korea throughout the talks, with Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov echoing Pyongyang¡¯s positions on major issues.

Although the crisis has been put on hold for the time being, prospects for the next round of talks, where the six parties will be pressured for more substantive progress, are unclear.

The North Korean delegation, led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong-il, flies out Saturday morning. The South Koreans are to return to Seoul the same day.

© Scoop Media

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