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More Countries Welcome Six-Party Joint Document
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Britain, Canada, Singapore and Thailand have expressed welcome for the joint document issued at the end of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue in Beijing on Tuesday.


In a statement issued late Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said: "This is a step in the right direction toward the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."


"It shows the benefits of patient diplomacy, backed by concerted action by the international community," she said.


"The next step is implementation, and we look to North Korea to fulfill the commitments it has entered into," Beckett added.


Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay on Wednesday said the Canadian government "salutes this attempt to bring peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula."


"Canada has consistently advocated the six-party talks as the best means for North Korea to address its long-term economic, political and security goals," said Mackay in a statement.


In Singapore, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that it was an important step forward, but added that there was still a long road to travel.


The spokesman said Singapore hopes that all parties would keep to their commitments and further progress would be made at the next round of the six-party talks next month.


On Wednesday, Thailand congratulated all the parties on the progress achieved during the talks. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kitti Wasinondh said Thailand praises the nations involved in the negotiation for attempts to mend their differences and eventually reach an initial agreement.


"We hope the agreement will be translated into the concrete results by March 19, when the signatories agreed to hold another round of six-party talks," the senior Thai diplomat said.


The six-party talks, involving China, the US, Russia, Japan, North and South Korea, ended in Beijing on Tuesday with a joint statement on the first step toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


Under the document, North Korea will shut down and seal the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility, and invite International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to return to monitor and verify their actions.


The parties agreed to the provision of emergency energy assistance to North Korea in the initial phase, and assistance equivalent to 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil will commence within 60 days, according to the document.


The next round of the six-party talks is scheduled to be held in Beijing on March 19.


(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2007)


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