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Informal 5-nation Talks on DPRK Nuclear Issue Held in NY

Exchanges conducted in various forms and through different channels help a great deal to solve sensitive regional and other issues such as the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said a senior Chinese official in New York Tuesday.

Yang Xiyu, Director of the Korean Peninsula affairs under the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said "helpful and thought-provoking" discussions were held at an informal meeting attended by delegates from China, Japan, DPRK, South Korea and the United States, which along with Russia have conducted the so-called six-party talks on the DPRK nuclear issue.

The two-day closed-door meeting on Northeast Asian Security was organized by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a US nonpartisan organization focusing on key issues and conflicts of US interests.

Yang, who attended the meeting, noted that all the participants contributed to the discussion in a free, frank and constructive manner, though they attended the meeting in a private capacity and their comments may not represent their respective governments.

On the agenda of the first-day meeting, he said the discussions were focused mainly on issues related to the six-party talks and the development of the DPRK nuclear issue, but they did not touch upon the next round of the six-party talks and their preparation. "That is not supposed to be the concern of the present meeting," he said.

Former US Defense Secretary William Perry was the luncheon speaker and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delivered a speech in the afternoon, sources said.

According to some US officials, Joseph DeTrani, the US special envoy for Korean affairs, did not schedule bilateral meetings during Tuesday's conference, but there were unconfirmed reports that he was seen talking with Li Gun, deputy head of US affairs at the DPRK Foreign Ministry. DeTrani and Li have represented their countries at the working party meetings.

This is the second year that Li attended the National Committee's conference.

A US State Department official said the United States has allowed DPRK officials to attend conferences from time to time since 1988.

A US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "We're not seeking a bilateral negotiation with the North Koreans. We are seeking a multilateral solution to a problem of multinational interest, and we think the best way is the six-party talks."

South Korea's ambassador to the United States, Han Sung-joo, was scheduled to speak at Wednesday morning's session.

US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said last week that the United States would like to convene a working party meeting of the participants in the six-party talks as soon as possible to prepare for the next plenary session expected to be held in Beijing by the end of September.

(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2004)

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