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Informal DPRK nuke talks `helpful'
Updated: 2004-08-12 01:56

A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official Wednesday said informal talks in New York between five of the parties involved in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear issue had been "helpful and thought-provoking."

Yang Xiyu, director of the Foreign Minstry's Korean Peninsula affairs office, said that such exchanges, conducted in a variety of forms and through different channels, can help solve sensitive matters, such as the DPRK nuclear issue.

Representatives from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) walk into a building in New York on Tuesday local time to attend an information meeting on Northeast Asian Security and the DPRK nuclear issue. [Xinhua]

The two-day closed-door meeting on Northeast Asian Security was organized by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a US non-governmental organization focusing on key issues and conflicts of US interests.

It was attended by delegates from China, Japan, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States, which along with Russia, have been conducting the six-party talks on the DPRK nuclear issue.

Yang, who attended the meeting, noted that all the participants contributed to the discussion in a free, frank and constructive manner, although they attended the in a private capacity and their comments may not reflect the views of their respective governments.

The first day's agenda mainly focused on issues related to the six-party talks and the development of the DPRK nuclear issue, but they did not touch upon the next round of the six-party talks and their preparation, he said.

"That is not supposed to be the concern of the present meeting," he said.

Former US Defence Secretary William Perry and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger both delivered speeches at the meeting, sources said.

According to some US officials, Joseph DeTrani, the US special envoy for Korean affairs, did not schedule bilateral meetings during Tuesday's conference, but there were unconfirmed reports that he was seen talking with Li Gun, deputy head of US affairs at the DPRK Foreign Ministry. DeTrani and Li have represented their countries at the working party meetings.

This is the second year that Li attended the National Committee's conference. A US State Department official said the United States has allowed DPRK officials to attend conferences from time to time since 1988.

A US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "We're not seeking a bilateral negotiation with the North Koreans. We are seeking a multilateral solution to a problem of multinational interest, and we think the best way is the six-party talks."

ROK ambassador to the United States, Han Sung-joo, was scheduled to speak at the session being held on Wednesday morning (local time).

US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said last week the United States would like to convene a working party meeting of the participants in the six-party talks as soon as possible to prepare for the next plenary session expected to be held in Beijing by the end of next month.

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