China will send 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the middle of this month under the aid-for-disarmament pact, Yonhap news agency of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has said.
The Chinese aid will be the main topic of discussion when a six-party working group dealing with energy and economic aid meets in Seoul today and tomorrow, Yonhap quoted diplomatic sources as saying.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson's office issued a statement yesterday reiterating that China is committed to fulfilling its part of the share in the February 13 agreement.
"Being the host of the nuclear talks, China is willing to keep coordinating and negotiating with all the parties to maintain the current positive trend and work for the next phase," it said, "to fulfill all the agreements in a comprehensive and balanced way and facilitate progress of the talks," it said.
China, the US, the ROK, Russia and Japan agreed on February 13 to extend economic, energy and humanitarian help equivalent to 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil to the DPRK.
The DPRK shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility last month after getting the initial shipment of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel from the ROK.
To move to the next phase when the DPRK is to declare and disable all its nuclear facilities, the other five countries have to offer the rest of the 950,000 tons of oil.
Analysts say China has taken positive and substantive measures to take the six-party talks forward.
"The initial phase of the landmark February pact has achieved great progress and China's attitude is conducive to the successful implementation of the next phase," Tsinghua University professor Liu Jiangyong said.
But it is difficult to predict if China's sincerity will prompt the DPRK to fulfill its part of the commitment, Liu said.
(China Daily August 7, 2007)