China said on Tuesday that the current main task for all parties to the Korean Peninsula nuclear talks is to implement the second phase action plan in a comprehensive and balanced way.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks at a regular press conference when asked about China's stance on the provision of fuel oil to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in return for the disabling of nuclear facilities.
"The six-party talks is a long process, and all sides agreed to promote the process stage by stage," Liu said.
Last week, China chaired a meeting of chief delegates from the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan, which focused on the verification of the DPRK's nuclear program.
After a four-day meeting, the six sides issued a chairman's statement, in which, all sides agreed, as described in the October3 Second Phase Agreement, to complete in parallel the disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and the provision of economic and energy assistance equivalent to one million tonnes of heavy fuel oil.
However, the United States said it will halt fuel oil shipments to the DPRK, and the five countries negotiating with the DPRK had agreed that future fuel shipments would not go forward until there was progress on the verification protocol.
"It is undeniable that the relevant parties have achieved some consensus on the verification. That is, the verification is necessary. Nevertheless, disputes still exist, among which the most important one is how to conduct verification. The parties have had serious, candid and helpful discussions on this issue." Liu said.
He added that China will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with other parties so as to promote the six-party talks process, and play a constructive role in realizing the removal of nuclear facilities from the Korean Peninsula, the normalization of ties between countries involved and building a peace and security mechanism in northeast Asia.
(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2008)