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Japanese Envoy Cautious of Six-Party Talks Prospect
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Top Japanese negotiator to the six-party talks Kenichiro Sasae played down the prospect of six-party talks as he said the working group meetings of the talks are only a "start of a marathon" and still have a long road to go.


Sasae made the remarks on Monday before leaving for attending the sixth round of six-party talks on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue which were launched Monday morning in Beijing.


Sasae said this round of talks is set to summarize the work of the five working groups, which had already convened their first meeting before the full-fledged nuclear talks resumed.


It's very important for North Korea to fulfil its commitment to abandon its nuclear programs and other five parties are also necessary to implement their respective measures during the initial 60-day phase, he said.


If these actions cannot be implemented, the talks will stall at the initial steps, he added.


During the last round of talks which ended on February 13, the six parties reached consensus on setting up five working groups to discuss details of ways to implement the initial steps of September 19 joint statement.


"All working groups just began their work and we should take overall and long-term perspective to make utmost efforts in achieving the goal of nuclear-free Korean Peninsula," he said.


The working group on the normalization on North Korea-Japan relations had meeting in Hanoi early March.


"It's a pity we haven't achieve progress during that meeting in the abduction issue between bilateral relations," Sasae said, adding that "we must realize we are just setting about this issue."


(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2007)

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