Nth Korea: Six-party negotiators reach agreement
Six-party negotiators reach agreement on denuclearization of North Korea
Nuclear negotiators have successfully persuaded North Korea to accept a denuclearization deal Tuesday (Feb. 13).
North Korea agreed Tuesday to eventually dismantle its nuclear-related facilities in exchange for up to one million tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent benefits in other energy or economic aid.
Negotiators representing North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, USA, Russia.
"The DPRK will shut down and seal for the purpose of eventual abandonment the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility, and invite back IAEA personnel to conduct all necessary monitoring and verifications as agreed between IAEA and the DPRK," a joint statement of the six countries in the nuclear negotiations said, referring to the acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"The parties agreed that the above-mentioned initial actions will be implemented within next 60 days and that they will take coordinated steps toward this goal."
The agreement comes more than three years after the North joined the six-party talks in August 2003 to address international concerns over its suspected nuclear weapons programs. The statement is a follow-up to a 2005 accord, in which the North agreed in principle to give up its nuclear ambition.
The nuclear deal also follows heightened urgency to disarm the North after the communist nation detonated a nuclear device in October.
The statement calls for Pyongyang to shut down its nuclear-related facilities at Yongbyong within 60 days from its adoption. In return, North Korea is to be provided with 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in "emergency aid," whose first shipments are to begin before the end of the two-month deadline.
Tuesday's agreement is considered a big leap in the nearly four-year-old negotiation process, as it requires the North to completely "disable" all of its nuclear-related facilities within an unspecified timeline.
"The action plan on the initial steps is a very important document that will bring the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula to a phase of action," whereas before denuclearization was only agreed to in principle, Chun Yung-woo, South Korea's top nuclear negotiator, later told reporters.
Christopher Hill also welcomed the agreement, saying the United States is "pleased."
"Obviously we have a long way to go, but we're very pleased with this agreement," he said.
The accord on nascent reciprocal steps toward North Korea's denuclearization is viewed as a breakthrough in a diplomatic process that was nearly shattered four months ago when Pyongyang detonated an atomic bomb.
The agreement apparently raises hopes that Pyongyang will reverse the course of its nuclear development.
North Korea will be awarded with an additional 950,000 tons of heavy fuel oil or other equivalent incentives, such as economic or humanitarian assistance.
The reward for the North will be "equally shouldered" among the other five nations in the talks -- South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China, according to a South Korean negotiator.
The joint accord was officially sealed and announced at a plenary session of the nuclear talks, which resumed Thursday. Wu Dawei, China's top nuclear negotiator and chairman of the six-nation talks, read the statement at the televised session.
The statement commits the U.S. to "begin" efforts to remove North Korea from its list of terror-sponsoring states within two months, as well as lift its economic restrictions on the North under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
Pyongyang would be required to "invite back" international nuclear monitors to its country within the same period.
The statement also calls for the establishment of five working-level groups to discuss various issues that hamper stability and peace in Northeast Asia.
All five groups are to be formed and begin work within 30 days starting from Tuesday. Two of them would each be attended by North Korea-U.S. and North Korea-Japan to discuss normalizing bilateral ties.
A separate forum is also to be established in the near future to discuss replacing the dubious armistice treaty dividing the two Koreas with a more permanent peace regime.
A meeting of foreign ministers from the six nations is to be held once the North completes initial steps to shut down its nuclear facilities within two months.
The next round of the nuclear disarmament talks is scheduled for March 19, the statement said.
Full Text of Denuclearization Agreement
The following is the full text of “Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement” adopted at the latest round of six-nation negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program in Beijing on Feb. 13.
Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement
The third session of the fifth round of the Six-Party Talks was held in Beijing among the People's Republic of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States of America from 8 to 13 February 2007.
Wu Dawei, vice minister of foreign affairs of the PRC, Kim Gye-gwan, vice minister of foreign affairs of the DPRK; Kenichiro Sasae, director-general for Asian and Oceanian affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Chun Yung-woo, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Alexander Losyukov, deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation; and Christopher Hill, assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs of the Department of State of the United States attended the talks as heads of their respective delegations.
Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei chaired the talks.
I. The parties held serious and productive discussions on the actions each party will take in the initial phase for the implementation of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005. The parties reaffirmed their common goal and will to achieve early denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and reiterated that they would earnestly fulfill their commitment in the Joint Statement. The parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the Joint Statement in a phased manner in line with the principle of action for action.
II. The parties agreed to take the following actions in parallel in the initial phase:
1. The DPRK will shut down and seal for the purpose of eventual abandonment the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility and invite back IAEA personnel to conduct all necessary monitoring and verifications as agreed between IAEA and the DPRK.
2. The DPRK will discuss with other parties a list of all its nuclear program as described in the Joint Statement, including plutonium extracted from used fuel rods, that would be abandoned pursuant to the Joint Statement.
3. The DPRK and the U.S. will start bilateral talks aimed at resolving pending bilateral issues and moving toward full diplomatic relations. The U.S. will begin the process of removing the designation of the DPRK as a state-sponsor of terrorism and advance the process of terminating the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act with respect to the DPRK.
4. The DPRK and Japan will start bilateral talks aimed at taking steps to normalize their relations in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the settlement of unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern.
5. Recalling Section 1 and 3 of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005, the parties agreed to cooperate in economic, energy and humanitarian assistance to the DPRK. In this regard, the parties agreed to the provision of emergency energy assistance to the DPRK in the initial phase. The initial shipment of emergency energy assistance equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil will commence within next 60 days.
The parties agreed that the above-mentioned initial actions will be implemented within next 60 days and that they will take coordinated steps toward this goal.
III. The Parties agreed on the establishment of the following Working Groups (WG) in order to carry out the initial actions and for the purpose of full implementation of the Joint Statement:
1. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
2. Normalization of DPRK-U.S. relations
3. Normalization of DPRK-Japan relations
4. Economy and energy cooperation
5. Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism
The WGs will discuss and formulate specific plans for the implementation of the Joint Statement in their respective areas. The WGs shall report to the Six-Party Heads of Delegation Meeting on the progress of their work. In principle, progress in one WG shall not affect progress in other WGs. Plans made by the five WGs will be implemented as a whole in a coordinated manner.
The Parties agreed that all WGs will meet within next 30 days.
IV. During the period of the Initial Actions phase and the next phase _ which includes provision by the DPRK of a complete declaration of all nuclear programs and disablement of all existing nuclear facilities, including graphite-moderated reactors and reprocessing plant _ economic, energy and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil (HFO), including the initial shipment equivalent to 50,000 tons of HFO, will be provided to the DPRK.
The detailed modalities of the said assistance will be determined through consultations and appropriate assessments in the Working Group on Economic and Energy Cooperation.
V. Once the initial actions are implemented, the Six Parties will promptly hold a ministerial meeting to confirm implementation of the Joint Statement and explore ways and means for promoting security cooperation in Northeast Asia.
VI. The Parties reaffirmed that they will take positive steps to increase mutual trust, and will make joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The directly related parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum.
VII. The Parties agreed to hold the sixth round of the Six-Party Talks on 19 March 2007 to hear reports of WGs and discuss on actions for the next phase.