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FM: Six-Party Talks To Resume from Dec.18
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"As a result of the consultations of the parties concerned, the second phase of the fifth round of the six-party talks on the Korean peninsular nuclear issue will be resumed in Beijing on Dec.18," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Monday in Beijing.

These will be the first talks since North Korea carried out an underground nuclear test on Oct. 9, triggering international outcry and further worsening the urgency of the Korean nuclear issue.

"At this discussion, we expect that the parties will discuss ways to implement the September 2005 joint statement," the US State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore said.

Monday's announcement came after a flurry of brisk diplomatic engagements among the parties concerned over the past months.

At the end of October, the chief negotiators of China, North Korea and the United States held a closed-door meeting in Beijing, agreeing to resume the talks at a time convenient to all parties.

In late November, chief negotiators from North Korea, the United States, South Korea and Japan came to Beijing, aiming at laying the groundwork for the resumption of the talks.

Analysts are divided on the prospect of the upcoming talks. Some experts hailed the resumption an opportunity to break the current stalemate.

"I find it hard for the forthcoming six-party talks to produce substantive progress," said Yang Bojiang, a researcher with China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

Yang said the difficulty lies in the deep-rooted mistrust between North Korea and the United States.

Launched in 2003, the six-party talks, involving China, North Korea, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan, aim to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

However, the talks stalled last November when North Korea refused to return to the talks due to US sanctions against it.

Over the past 13 months, the parties concerned have made continuous efforts to restart the talks.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2006)


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