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New Round of Talks to Lay Groundwork for Implementing Joint Statement

The fifth round of six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue will lay the groundwork for carrying out the first joint statement among the parties, South Korean chief negotiator said in Beijing Monday afternoon.


Song Min-soon, also the country's deputy foreign minister, made the statement upon his arrival at the Beijing International Airport.


"There will be intensive consultations in this round of six-party talks," Song told Xinhua. He and his delegates were the first to arrive for the talks scheduled on Wednesday.


Delegations from North Korea, the US, Russia and Japan, will arrive today.


Aiming at resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, China hosted four rounds of six-party talks with the latest one adopting the first joint statement in September.


North Korea pledged in the statement to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and return, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


The US affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula and has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea with nuclear or conventional weapons, says the statement.


The fifth round of six-party talks is expected to discuss how to follow through on the statement. "The previous talks helped all parties accomplish a 'word-to-word' goal, and the new round will enter the stage of 'action-to-action', and there will be more substantial discussions," said Shen Jiru, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


The upcoming talks will be held in phases. The first phase, will run from November 9 to 11, sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said yesterday. "But the actual timetable will be subject to a discussion by all parties."


The ministry's spokesperson Kong Quan said earlier that "holding the talks by phases in the new round could have a better result," as the chief negotiators of some parties might also attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit slated for mid-November in Pusan, South Korea.


"If all parties could take a commitment to commitment and action to action based on the joint statement reached during the fourth round of talks, and earnestly push forward the discussion and agree to take further steps, there would be a positive result," Kong said.


(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2005)


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