The first working group meeting of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue ended in Beijing Saturday, and the third round of six-party talks will be held before the end of June as scheduled, a Chinese diplomat said in Beijing Saturday.
The second working group meeting will be held to prepare for the third round of six-party talks, said Ning Fukui, head of the Chinese working group and ambassador on Korean Peninsula affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at the end of the four-day meeting.
The Chinese side hopes that all parties take practical steps at an early date for settling the Korean nuclear issue and related issues, said Ning.
"It is the hope of the Chinese side that all parties would hold consultations in a flexible, practical and patient manner, and explore ways to settle the issues," he added.
Ning described the first working group meeting as "an important step" to push ahead the peace talks process on the nuclear issue, saying that all parties, in a candid and practical manner, exchanged views on issues related to the resolution of the nuclear issue, such as abandonment of the nuclear program, security guarantee, nuclear freezing and counter measures.
All parties wanted to make clearer the details on the settlement of the above issues and exchange views more specifically on the steps, methods and related measures, he said.
All parties reiterated their adherence to all the important consensus reached at the second round of the six-party talks -- peaceful solution of the nuclear issue through dialogue, the ultimate goal of a nuclear-weapons-free Korean Peninsula with nuclear freezing as the first step to complete nuclear abandonment, while addressing the security concerns of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Ning said all parties had put forward some new ideas regarding the resolution of related issues at the meeting. Although they need to be improved and specified in some aspects and differences still exist on some issues, all parties agreed to continue discussions, which Ning said was "important."
On the whole, the meeting preceded in a "candid, practical and constructive" atmosphere, which deepened mutual understanding and helped find the way to settle the nuclear issue, he said.
Envoys from China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan started the meeting Wednesday morning at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in China's capital, the venue for the previous two rounds of six-party talks.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2004)