Envoys from the six nations gathered in Beijing on Monday for a fresh round of talks on removing nuclear programs from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
"I propose the talks focus on three issues," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said in his opening address late Monday afternoon.
Envoys from the six nations to the Korean Peninsular nuclear talks gather to hold talks in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, on December 8, 2008. A new round of the six-party talks is begun here Monday afternoon for a fresh round of talks on the denuclearization of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). [Wang Jianhua/Xinhua]
"First, verification; secondly, implementation of the remaining second phase action plan; and thirdly the establishment of a peace and security mechanism in northeast Asia."
The talks, also involving the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan, got under way in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in western Beijing.
"Since our last meeting in July, all parties have kept in close communication and consultation and registered some progress, which China deeply appreciated," Wu said.
Last week, chief US envoy Christopher Hill and his DPRK counterpart, Kim Kye Gwan, met in Singapore. The talks were reported to be substantive, but the two parties failed to reach a deal on sampling of atomic materials.
"We should participate in the meeting with a flexible and pragmatic attitude. We need joint efforts to narrow differences and lay a solid foundation for promoting talks into next phase," Wu said.
The Chinese host also called on the six nations to continue to adhere to the principles of "word for word, action for action" and” phased implementation".
Monday's talk lasted about one hour, with the issue of verification topping the agenda.
"We discussed fuel oil, the issues of disablement schedule and verification," Hill told reporters at China World Hotel Monday night.
"On fuel oil and disablement, there were no really contentious issues," said Hill.
The difficulty lies in how to verify DPRK's nuclear program.
"The Chinese have some ideas on how to approach the issue. What China is trying to do now is to put together a draft and circulate something tomorrow(Tuesday)," Hill said.
"It has to do with the verification. The key element will be what we did in Pyongyang. As you know we want to see some further definitions of this."
Sunday night, the US envoy said the objective of this round of talks was to produce a verification protocol and a clear road map of what parties need to do to complete the verification.
Under an agreement reached at the six-party talks in February 2007, the DPRK agreed to abandon all nuclear weapons and programs. It promised to declare all its nuclear programs and facilities by the end of 2007. In return, DPRK would get diplomatic and economic incentives.
The six parties agreed to a disarmament schedule in October 2007. The DPRK said it has slowed down that process because of sluggish economic compensation.
On Saturday, DPRK vowed to ignore Japan at the talks, citing Tokyo's refusal to send aid to the country as part of the agreement.
Before Monday's talks began, the Chinese delegation held a series of preliminary bilateral meetings with the other five parties.
Despite recent tensions, the DPRK and ROK delegations also held a rare bilateral meeting before the talks opened.
Launched in 2003, the six-party talks was a vice-minister level mechanism aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Chinese top nuclear negotiator and Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei (1st R, front) addresses a fresh round of talks on the denuclearization of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, on December 8, 2008. [Wang Jianhua/Xinhua]
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2008)