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Third Round of Six-Party Nuke Talks Slated for June

The six-party talks on Korean nuclear issue, involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Japan and China, will begin the third round of talks before end of June as scheduled after one more working group's meeting.

The first working group's meeting, held in Beijing from May 12 to May 15 and participated by diplomats from the six countries, made such arrangement.

The first working group meeting was "an important step" to push ahead the peace talks process on the nuclear issue, 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.

"All parties, in a candid and practical manner, exchanged views on issues related the resolution of the nuclear issue, such as abandonment of the nuclear program, security guarantee, nuclear freezing and counter measures," he said.

"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 noted.

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-weapon-free Korean Peninsula with nuclear freezing as the first step to complete nuclear abandonment, while addressing the security concerns of DPRK.

A DPRK working group member gave a 10-minute press release outside the DPRK Embassy to China last Thursday mid-night, saying the DPRK would hold the position of solving problems through dialogue and coordination and would discuss the nuclear-freezing issue concerned by all sides with a frank attitude

According to the Associated Press, Joseph DeTrani, US State Department special envoy for Korean affairs, said Saturday that the working level meeting had been a "good meeting."

When asked if progress had been made, he answered: "Yes, definitely,'' but did not elaborate.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell also made positive comment on the working-level meeting, saying it was good and frank.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular press conference last Thursday that all sides elaborated their stance during the working-level meeting and some fresh contents were added.

Russian delegation head V. Sukhinin, also deputy director of the first Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said at an interview with the Itar-Tass news agency last Wednesday that all the participants in the meeting are experts in specific fields and they can only exchange views on details of some issues but cannot revise the stance of their governments.

The working group's meeting is an important step to further the six-party talks, said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo while meeting with heads of the working groups of the six parties Saturday after the meeting.

In the meeting, all sides has had frank and in-depth discussion based on the fruits of the second round of six party talks, including new ideas for solving related questions, the vice minister said.

The working level meeting resulted in consensus and progress, enhanced mutual understanding and forged basis for furthering the talks, he noted.

"There is still a long way to go to settle the Korean nuclear issue," Dai said, "but if all sides, with full sincerity, enough patience and confidence, try to enhance trust and settle suspicion, they can expand consensus and push forward the six party talks."

(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2004)

Six-party Working Group Meeting Ends
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