Chief US negotiator Christopher Hill (L) attends the opening
of another round of the six-party talks at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in
Beijing February 8, 2007. [Reuters]
China hopes the resumption of negotiations on the Korean Peninsula nuclear
issue will be a "new starting point" in the process of making the peninsula
nuclear-free, Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said yesterday.
Wu's remarks came as chief negotiators to the Six-Party Talks aimed at
denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula reconvened in Beijing yesterday afternoon.
"I hope the meeting will be a good beginning for implementing the joint
statement (of September 19, 2005) and become a new starting point in the process
of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula," said Wu, who is also the top Chinese
negotiator to the talks.
The latest session of the six-nation talks, which involve host China, the
United States, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Republic of
Korea (ROK), Japan and Russia, will focus on the implementation of the 2005
joint statement and the actions to be taken by various parties in the initial
Under the joint statement, the DPRK agreed to abandon its nuclear program in
exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.
Wu appreciated the "close coordination and communication" among the parties
following the last session of the talks, particularly, the "in-depth and
productive contacts" between the chief delegates of the US and the DPRK, saying
the efforts have provided a more solid basis for this session to make headway.
Chinese delegation spokesman Qin Gang told a press conference last night that
the talks at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse were "candid and pragmatic".
"I would not like to say more optimistic or pessimistic about the talks as
the negotiations were only in their first day, but I feel the consensus reached
by related parties has broadened," Qin said.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the top US nuclear envoy, said
yesterday that talks resumed on a positive note, and that all sides were hoping
to achieve an agreement on the first steps for Pyongyang's disarmament.
"We had a good first day today," Hill told reporters. "We hope we can achieve
some kind of joint statement here."
Media reports have suggested the US and the DPRK inked a memorandum during
talks in Berlin last month, agreeing that Pyongyang's first steps toward
denuclearization and US energy support should begin simultaneously.
However, Hill yesterday denied the signing of such a memorandum. "We had good
discussions (last month) and want to see what we might do at the Six-Party
Talks. We didn't sign anything," Hill told reporters.
Also yesterday, the DPRK expressed readiness to discuss the initial steps of
nuclear disarmament, raising hopes for the first tangible progress for the
six-nation talks since they were launched in 2003.
"We are prepared to discuss first-stage measures," the DPRK's nuclear envoy
Kim Kye-gwan said on arrival at Beijing. But Kim said any moves by Pyongyang
would be determined by the US attitude.
"We are going to make a judgment based on whether the US will give up its
hostile policy and come out toward peaceful coexistence," he said, adding he is
not "either optimistic or pessimistic" about the talks because there are still
many points of confrontation to resolve.
The ongoing session is the third phase of the fifth round of the talks. The
last session recessed without a breakthrough on December 22 last year after five
days of tough negotiations.
Agencies contributed to the story
(China Daily 02/09/2007 page2)