ROK: China's proposal 'should be studied deliberately'

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South Korea said on Sunday that China's proposal on emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the six-party talks next month as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula "should be studied deliberately."

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Wu Dawei, Chinese special representative for the Korean Peninsula affairs, said in a press briefing in Beijing later Sunday that "the Chinese side, after careful deliberation, proposes emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the six-party talks in early December in Beijing to exchange views on major issues of concern to the parties at present."

In response, Seoul's foreign ministry said the government will "take note of China's proposal."

However, Pyongyang's recent moves, including disclosing construction site of a light-water nuclear reactor and uranium enrichment facilities, and a recent artillery barrage on a South Korean island, "caused negative effects" on efforts by relevant parties, the ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun said in a statement.

In this case, the proposal on consultations among heads of delegation to the six-party talks "should be studied deliberately, " Kim said.

The six-party negotiations, aiming at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, involve China, South Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, Russia and Japan.

Kim reiterated Seoul's basic position, saying that the related parties should create necessary conditions to resume the long- stalled multilateral nuclear negotiations to ensure substantive progress in denuclearization of the DPRK. To this end, the parties concerned should first promote various bilateral and multilateral consultations, including inter-Korean talks, under the six-party framework.

Seoul again urged the DPRK to show its will to abandon its nuclear program with specific actions, Kim said.

He also said Seoul's government will have close consultations on follow-up responses with parties involved in the six-party talks.

Tensions are high on the Korean Peninsula after the two sides exchanged fire last Tuesday in waters near the contentious sea border called Northern Limit Line (NLL). The artillery clash left four South Koreans dead, while damage to the DPRK still remain unknown.

South Korea and the United States on Sunday launched a four-day joint naval drill in the tense waters, days after the artillery skirmish between South Korea and the DPRK. Calling it "defensive in nature", the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) here said it " demonstrates the strength" of the alliance between Seoul and Washington and their "commitment to regional stability through deterrence."

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