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US Expects Further Talks on Nuclear Issue

A senior official of the US delegation to the third round of six-party talks on the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula said in Beijing Friday that the US side expects further talks although "no breakthrough" has been achieved in this round.


On the first day of this round of six-party talks, the US delegation offered a seven-page proposal, which includes a three-month preparatory period for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to dismantle its nuclear programs, during which the DPRK would freeze work on its nuclear programs, submit a list of all nuclear activities.


The US proposal also covered conditional energy aid and security insurance to the DPRK if its nuclear programs will be dismantled.


The US official said the US and the DPRK delegations held a bilateral meeting on Thursday, in which the DPRK praised the US proposal at least is "constructive".


According to the US official, the proposal raised by the DPRK side is "more specific" than the one they raised at the second round of six-party talks.


The DPRK delegation had made clear in its proposal to freeze its nuclear program for compensation, and they also had made clear that this is the first step on the path to nuclear dismantlement, said the official. "That's very positive indeed," he said.


But the official said the US side is far from an agreement with the DPRK proposal.


The DPRK made it clear that it refuses to discuss the uranium enrichment problem, which is a problem should be solved, said the official.


It is reported that after reading the US proposal, the DPRK threatened to test nuclear weapon if its conditions on freezing the program are not accepted by the US side. The US official said the DPRK didn't say that in the two-hour bilateral meeting between the US and the DPRK delegations on Thursday.


For the result of the third round of talks, the US official said that it's too hard for the US side to clear a joint statement, which involves a lot of work. "If you are not careful, it will be misleading. We don't want to be that at all."


But the official voiced his expectations for more rounds of talks to go in the future. He said some follow-up work has been discussed on Friday in bilateral and multilateral meetings, concerning the next round of talks and the responsibility of the working groups.


"We might have one back quite soon to have our working group working," said the US official.


(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2004)




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