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US Official: Six-Party Talks 'Very Successful'

A senior official of the United States said in Beijing on Saturday afternoon that the six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue were "very successful."

In the first news briefing by the US side on the talks, which just ended, the official, on condition of anonymity, said the negotiation endeavor is moving towards "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement," or a coinage CVID used by US diplomats, of nuclear programs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"A pattern has been set up we've never had before in Northeast Asia for a unique kind of security dialogue," he said.

He said China has done an "exceptional job" for the talks. He named China not only a "participant," but also a "facilitator" and "mediator."

China has already brought the US and the DPRK to three rounds of talks, including the one between the DPRK, the US and China last April, in multilateral settings.

He also released that at least one or two working groups are going to be established, in a bid to discuss detailed issues.

The official confirmed the US and the DPRK delegations met twice in sidelines of the six-party talks. US delegates said the DPRK team were "less confrontational" and "very professional."

The atmosphere of the "informal" meetings was "much better" than those in April and August 2003, he said, although difference and questioning was still "sharp."

He declined to predict how long the peaceful process would be, but said, "we need to go out patiently."

He said next round of the plenary was agreed to be held before the end of the second quarter this year.

The US official said that there would be "a lot of incentive" for the DPRK if it abandons the nuclear programs.

"If we can move past the nuclear problem," he said, "the US is ready to go through all kinds of talks leading towards normalization."

The official said that the US has moved much closer to the stand on institutionalizing the six-party talks.

(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2004)

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