No new obstacles have emerged on the road to resolving the
Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the chief US nuclear envoy said
yesterday, on the eve of the resumption of the six-party talks in Beijing.
After the meetings with Kim Kye-gwan, his North Korean
counterpart, Christopher Hill said: "I think we're all in the same
"We had a good discussion - at this point there are no show
stoppers," the US assistant secretary of state said.
Hill, Kim and representatives of China, South Korea, Russia and
Japan will hold two days of talks after UN nuclear inspectors
confirmed that North Korea had shut down its Yongbyon nuclear
North Korea agreed on February 13 to close down the nuclear
facility in exchange for 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil. The first
shipment of the oil from South Korea reached North Korea last
The two-day talks are expected to focus on setting a schedule
for North Korea to declare all its nuclear programs and then
Hill yesterday reiterated the US stance of having North Korea
disable its nuclear facilities by the end of this year.
"I laid out my view on how this could be done and I think we had
a good discussion on that basis," he said. "I think people are
feeling pretty confident about our six-party process."
The fact that Hill and Kim had lunch together reflects the
amiable note the talks will start on.
"We just had a nice lunch," Hill told reporters outside a
restaurant in Beijing. "The atmosphere was very businesslike."
Kim said they "had a casual talk."
Before leaving Pyongyang yesterday, Kim told broadcaster APTN
that closing of the reactor meant the process was moving into the
"There should be discussions on how to define the targets of the
second phase, the obligations for each party, and also the sequence
of the actions," he said at the airport.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao urged all
the parties to make a concerted effort and earnestly carry out
their commitments to solve the nuclear issue.
Jin Xide, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social
Sciences, said: "The resumption of the talks is a very important"
Jin said the main tasks of the six parties in this round is to
confirm the implementation of the agreements in the initial stage
and to reach a consensus on the next stage, which would focus on
North Korea's nuclear disablement.
"I have never heard comments so positive before. More and more
people believe that North Korea really wants to give up its nuclear
weapons program," Jin said.
"If the trend continues, the next thing could be normalization
of the US-North Korea relations," he said.
(China Daily July 18, 2007)