The six-party talks aiming to set up a schedule for the
permanent dismantling of the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea's (DPRK) nuclear programs, are expected to end Friday without
a disarmament deadline, US chief envoy Christopher Hill said late
Thursday as the talks were shrouded in uncertainty.
Hill believed the consensus given was not very successful,
although the diplomats had engaged in vigorous discussion over
setting a deadline.
Nevertheless, Hill said he continued to believe the DPRK would
complete its nuclear disablement before the end of the year as
expected, and praised the meeting as "the best one" he had
Hill said that the working groups, regrouping members from all
six nations, would likely meet by the end of August to fix certain
technical specifics on disablement procedures before all parties
reached an overall deadline.
The talks were set to end on Thursday with a chairman's
statement, but were extended to Friday morning in an attempt to
hammer out a DPRK disarmament promise and an unlikely specific
Hill said that the parties would meet with China's foreign
minister on Friday ahead of the issuance of a closing statement by
China. This statement would establish a timetable for the second
phase, targets for all five working groups, and a new round plenary
Japan's chief delegate Kenichiro Sasae told reporters that China
was putting together the negotiation results to date for the next
day's talks and the eventual chairman's statement.
"There were points we agreed on, but others on which we
diverge," revealed Sasae, adding that the DPRK and Japan were now
ready to resume discussions on issues of common concern despite a
ROK chief negotiator Chun Yung Woo said Thursday's meeting had
been conducted in a "more practical atmosphere", during which frank
proposals were made by all sides concerning the details of complete
disablement of nuclear facilities.
Russian special envoy Vladimir Rakhmanin described the
atmosphere as friendly, but warned other participants to not
"complicate or simplify the problems discussed".
Given the complexity of the issue, a straightforward timetable
would be tricky, said the ROK negotiator.
However, positive signals emerged after the first day of talks
with Hill saying on Wednesday that the talks had been "very open
and substantive discussions". The ROK negotiator also revealed the
DPRK was ready to close down its facilities and reveal nuclear
programs within six months.
Although the DPRK made no comment on the ongoing talks, it did
hold three one-on-one meetings with the US.
Chun, the ROK negotiator, said earlier on Thursday that the DPRK
this time demonstrated "a practical and realistic approach", and
that if this could be maintained, this would be a big help on
cementing an action plan.
"It might be a controversial discussion about which step to take
next," said Tao Wenzhao, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of
Social Sciences, adding that trust between the DPRK and US would be
pivotal to the implementation of the February 13 joint document by
The DPRK has already shut down its Yongbyon facilities, the
first step laid down in the joint document, which also provides
specific steps for the DPRK's nuclear weapons abandonment and
(Xinhua News Agency July 20, 2007)