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DPRK, US extend one-to-one meetings
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-29 05:59

The United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) yesterday agreed to continue one-to-one consultations on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

The two sides held their third one-to-one meeting of this round of the Six-Party Talks for about three hours in Beijing yesterday morning, longer than the two previous meetings.

"They agreed to continue consultations," said Qin Gang, spokesman for the Chinese delegation. "The meetings alone are progress."

But, sounding a cautious note, Qin added: "It's far too early to say if there is a breakthrough or a breakdown."

The US proposed using international inspectors to examine Pyongyang's nuclear facilities in September, while Pyongyang opposed the move, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

According to Qin, bilateral meetings are expected to continue today.

Although no closing date has been set for the talks, Russian chief delegate Alexander Alexeyev said he would fly back home tomorrow while his deputy remains in Beijing.

Top US delegate Christopher Hill expressed hope yesterday that the six nations would begin drafting a document within 24 hours for adoption at the end of the talks.

Reports quoted Hill as saying "We're working on some ideas, and we're hoping that in the next 24 hours we can put down some of these ideas on paper, and gain acceptance from all the parties."

A US embassy spokeswoman later explained that the document would not be in the form of joint declaration or statement but rather a framework featuring some basic principles.

But Qin Gang said it was too early to talk about drafting a joint document, adding that China had not submitted any such draft.

China has held 12 bilateral discussions so far, three with the US, the DPRK and Japan, two with Russia and one with the Republic of Korea.

China's Foreign Ministry yesterday hosted a lunch for envoys from the six countries - an effort to create a favourable atmosphere for talks.

China's Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo said the talks were moving in the right direction.

Dai said the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is very complicated and it is natural that related parties have different views.

"However, the more complicated the work is, the more significant and valuable it will be if we deal with it properly," said Dai.

Dai stressed that all parties wanted the issue to be peacefully solved through talks, adding that he hoped the six parties cherished the opportunity to resume discussions and would try their best to expand consensus and reduce differences.

(China Daily 07/29/2005 page1)

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