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Six-Party Talks resume today amid cautious optimism
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The six-party talks to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue resumes in Beijing today.

The US top negotiator Christopher Hill arrives in Beijing on September 26, 2007. Hill was here for the second-phase meetings of the sixth-round six-party talks on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, to be started on September 27.

The Republic of Korea's (ROK) top negotiator Chun Yung-woo said yesterday that a road map to implement the results already achieved would be discussed at the meeting.

"The ROK delegation will do its best and play its unique role to facilitate achievements as early as possible," Chun said after arriving in Beijing in the afternoon.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed on February 13 to close its nuclear facilities in exchange for 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid.

Japanese and US negotiators yesterday agreed to work more closely at the six-party talks.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who is also head of the US delegation at the talks, met with his Japanese counterpart Kenichiro Sasae and discussed the abduction issue. Japan accuses the DPRK of abducting its nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hinted that her government could drop the DPRK from its terrorism blacklist before it fully accounted for the Japanese nationals, a move that could upset Japan.

But Hill didn't make it clear yesterday whether the US would actually move the process to drop the DPRK from the blacklist.

Earlier, Japan's new Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda indicated that he was willing to engage more deeply with the DPRK on the nuclear and the abduction issues.

The DPRK delegation headed by Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan arrivedĀ in Beijing on Tuesday.

Russia's top negotiator Alexander Losyukov was "cautiously optimistic" about the upcoming talks. "There may emerge some problems and difficulties, but all the six parties will make joint efforts to address them," he said after reaching Beijing in the morning.

But Chinese scholars said the new round of talks will not see the end of the tug-of-war negotiations. But they see it as a constructive step to take the denuclearizing process forward in a peaceful way.

"I think the US might be more active in working out some progress on DPRK's declaration and dismantling of nuclear facilities," China Foreign Affairs University professor Wang Fan said.

"Obviously, the Bush administration needs something to ease the domestic pressure over its Iraq policy and other diplomatic frustrations."

(China Daily September 27, 2007)

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