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ROK Urges Six-Party Talks to Focus on Denuclearization
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The South Korean chief negotiator for the six-party talks Chun Young-woo said on Tuesday that the upcoming six-party talks should focus on the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

"We should avoid overloading the agenda of the six-party talks," Chun said in a speech at a forum, urging Pyongyang to commit to last year's joint statement, in which Pyongyang promised to abandon its nuclear program in return for security guarantees and economic assistance.

The bilateral issues between North Korea and related countries should be shunned at the six-party talks, Chun stressed.

The financial dispute between Pyongyang and Washington lasting more than a year has proved to be one of the biggest obstacles to the disarmament talks, Chun said.

North Korea has demanded that the United States lift its sanction on North Korea's accounts in a Macau-based bank, Banco Delta Asia (BDA), since last year. The US accused the North Korea of using the account in alleged counterfeiting, money laundering, and other illicit activities.

"As the BDA has demonstrated, bringing thorny bilateral issues into the six-party talks can hold back the denuclearization process," Chun said.

Chun also appealed that all parties concerned with the talks should make efforts to build up trust, saying that the North Korea should demonstrate its genuine commitment to denuclearization by taking bold, concrete steps to implement its obligations under the joint statement reached on Sept. 19 last year.

North Korea should seize a "historic opportunity" at the six-party talks, Chun added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that the second phase of the fifth round of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issues will be launched next Monday. The last session of the six-party talks, involving China, the North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Russia and Japan was held in November last year.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2006)

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