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Differences Among Six Parties Narrowed

Chinese senior diplomat Wang Yi said in Beijing Saturday that the disputes among all parties participating in the third round of six-party talks on the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula were narrowed.

Wang, chairman of the third round of six-party talks, Chinese delegation head and vice foreign minister, made the remarks at a press conference after this round of talks concluded.

The nuclear issue faced two difficulties currently: one is the scope and measures of nuclear abandonment, the other is the scope of corresponding measures of the nuclear freeze, Wang said.

All parties, especially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States, had serious differences on these problems, he said, noting that the disputes were narrowed in this round of the six-party talks.

The plans tabled by the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) shared "common elements" with many positive ideas worthy serious study.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) expressed its willingness to give up all nuclear weapon-related programs in a transparent way, and stressed that the freezing of the nuclear programs was the first step for the abandonment of the nuclear programs and it would accept inspection, Wang Yi said. The DPRK also offered specific plans on launching the freezing program for the first time.

The United States reiterated it would not pursue a hostile policy toward the DPRK and offered, for the first time, comprehensive proposals for resolving the nuclear issue in an all-round way.

It showed attitudes of the two sides began to go closer, Wang said.

China, Russia, the Republic of Korea and Japan all agreed to take measures simultaneously to solve the concerns of the DPRK, and the United States also expressed its willingness to study DPRK's requirements, Wang said.

"The proposals and plans are the results achieved from the efforts of all relevant parties since the talks started a year ago, and they also reflect the positive political will of all parties to push forward the peaceful talks," he said.

"The other side of difficulty is hope, and the process to solve difficulties is the process to realize hopes," said Wang. "There is no difficulty that cannot be solved, no hopes cannot be realized, if we persevere in our talks."

All the six parties agreed in principle to convene in Beijing for the fourth round of talks before the end of September this year

Goal of denuclearization irreversible

The goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula is irreversible, nor is the process of peace talks or the historical trend on the peninsula toward peace and stability, said Wang Yi.

This round of talks is convened at a time when the peace talks entered the critical phase, and as the host nation China is happy for the progress achieved, Wang said, adding the hard-won progress has not only consolidated the achievements made so far, but paved the way for future talks, and deserves cherish.

He said this round of talks is featured with calm atmosphere, substantial contents and in-depth discussions. It is positive and pragmatic and reflects the spirits of mutual respect, equality and consultations. While putting forward their own solution proposals, the parties also showed respect for each other's plans.

"Meanwhile, we know clearly that the nuclear issue is highly complicated and there is still a serious lack of mutual trust between relevant sides. The basis of the talks is not solid enough, and there are still a number of differences and even opposing ideas on the scope and means of denuclearization, on nuclear freeze and corresponding measures," Wang said.

He said as the substantial discussions proceed further, new difficulties will inevitably crop up. "We have been fully aware of that," he said.

Six parties welcome DPRK's commitment

At the press conference, Wang said that during the third round of talks, the six parties reached consensus on the first phase of the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, and all agreed that the nuclear freeze and its corresponding measures were the first phase of the denuclearizaion process.

The six parties expressed welcome and made positive assessment at varying degrees on the commitment of the DPRK, he said.

The six parties agreed that the working group should convene at an early date to discuss specifically on the scope, duration and verification as well as corresponding measures in the process of denuclearization.

The discussion will help deepen talks on substantive matters and fundamentally promote the denuclearization process, he said.

China's role in six-party talks

China's role in the six-party talks is to promote the process of peaceful talks, Wang Yi said.

China has put out the general goal, direction and way to peacefully solve the issue, which have been agreed by the other five sides and the international community. With the efforts of China, the framework of three-party talks and six-party talks have been formed and become a continuous process, Wang said.

In addition, China, as host of the talks, played a role of mediating, which has gained approval of all sides.

However, China is not the dominating factor on the issue and the key was not in the hand of China, Wang said, adding that China has always been well aware of this and managed to balance its position and role.

As to this round of talks, Wang said China has also done three things. First, China has urged the other sides, especially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States to provide their concrete plans. Second, China suggested that all sides should respect each other and their plans. Third, China mediated actively and put forward a middle course when the talks came to a deadlock, Wang said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2004)

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