Pyongyang has agreed to disable all its existing nuclear facilities and provide a "complete and correct declaration" of its nuclear programs by the end of this year, according to a joint statement of the six countries involved in the Six-Party Talks on the Korean nuclear issue released by host China yesterday.
The statement, read out by Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei in Beijing, also reaffirmed a US commitment to begin the process of removing the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from its list of nations sponsoring terrorism as Pyongyang moves ahead with its obligations, but did not mention a time frame for that.
"The DPRK agreed to disable all existing nuclear facilities subject to abandonment under the September 2005 joint statement and the February 13 agreement," said Wu, who is also the chief Chinese negotiator at the multilateral talks.
The disablement of the 5-megawatt experimental reactor, the reprocessing plant and the nuclear fuel rod fabrication facility at Yongbyon will be completed by December 31.
"DPRK agreed to provide a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs in accordance with the February 13 agreement by December 31," Wu said.
Negotiators of China, the United States, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan and Russia at the talks had tentatively agreed on the document on Sunday, but decided to unveil the deal after obtaining official approval from their respective governments during a two-day recess.
The agreement coincided with the second inter-Korean summit being held in Pyongyang, where denuclearizing the peninsula is high on the agenda of talks between ROK President Roh Moo-hyun and DPRK top leader Kim Jong-il.
In accordance with the February 13 agreement, economic, energy and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil will be provided to the DPRK and specific modalities will be finalized through discussions by the Working Group on Economy and Energy Cooperation, the statement said.
China and the ROK have each sent Pyongyang 50,000 tons of heavy oil.
The US will fulfill its commitments to the DPRK in parallel with the DPRK's actions based on the consensus reached at the meetings of the Working Group on Normalization of DPRK-US Relations.
The DPRK and Japan had agreed to take specific actions toward normalizing ties through intensive consultations.
US President George W. Bush welcomed the joint document, the White House said yesterday.
"President Bush welcomes today's announcement, which outlines a roadmap for a declaration of the DPRK's nuclear programs and disablement of its core nuclear facilities by the end of the year," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.
In Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said the six-party deal has not changed Japan's position of refusing to join any aid to the DPRK unless progress is made toward resolving the abduction issue.
Chinese observers considered the joint statement as an "important outcome" to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"The statement gives a timetable for the DPRK to declare and disable its nuclear programs, which is an active step in implementing the February 13 agreement," said Liu Jiangyong, a professor of international studies at Tsinghua University.
"It demonstrates that the related parties are pushing for actions by fulfilling their commitments. We can expect the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula to enter a new stage."
The related parties also reiterated that the Six-Party Ministerial Meeting will be held in Beijing at an appropriate time and a meeting of the heads of delegations will be held prior to it to discuss its agenda.
(China Daily October 4, 2007)