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Six-Party Talks: First Day Candid and Pragmatic
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The six parties conducting the Korean peninsular nuclear issue talks conducted discussions called "candid, pragmatic and serious" on the first day of negotiations, even if divergences remain on a series of issues, said Chinese delegation spokesperson Jiang Yu in Beijing Monday.


"All delegations voiced their stance on implementing the September 19 joint statement and put forward proposals at Monday's meeting," Jiang told a news briefing at the Diaoyutai State Guest House, where the six-party talks are being held.


The parties expressed their desire to adopt a flexible and pragmatic attitude and conduct all-round, in-depth discussions, said Jiang, saying that this attitude would be "conducive" to positive results from the talks. She admitted the talks still face obstacles and differences still remain on the approaches and steps needed to implement the joint statement.


Under the joint statement, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.


Some of the differences are rather pronounced, and major efforts from all parties will be necessary to bridge the gap, Jiang added.


Since the purpose of the six-party talks is to reduce differences and expand consensus, no matter the difficulty or complexity of the obstacles, patience and positive thinking should be adopted by all, said the spokesperson.


"Under no circumstance should the aim of pursuing a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula be lost from view, nor should our confidence and determination to find a peaceful solution to the issue," Jiang said.


Launched in 2003, the six-party talks, involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan, have undergone five rounds so far.


However, the talks have been stalled since November 2005 when the DPRK walked out angered at US sanctions.


Hailing the resumption of the talks on Monday as a "good start", Jiang said the talks have brought the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue back into the realm of negotiation, easing the current situation.


"The resumption of the talks is hard-won and worth cherishing. We hope all parties will cooperate closely with each other to strive for positive results," said the spokesperson.


Jiang said as the host and a participant in the talks, China will maintain its objective and impartial stance, making unrelenting efforts to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.


"It is in the interests of all parties to normalize diplomatic ties between the countries concerned, and safeguard the peace of the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia through dialogue and consultation."


A meeting among chief negotiators will be held on Tuesday morning with a series of one-on-one discussions to follow in the afternoon, Jiang said.


(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2006)

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