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Six-party talks to continue on Sunday
Updated: 2005-09-18 08:46

For most Asian diplomats and reporters aspiring for mid-autumn festival reunion holiday, they still have to stay here for another day or so as the talks on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue did not break deadlock or recess Saturday.

The negotiators from China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan, have presumptively set Saturday for deadline of the talks resumed Tuesday.

The talks will continue on Sunday, said Chinese delegation spokesman Liu Jianchao Saturday,but giving no specific timetable for the talks.

Japanese delegation chief Kenichiro Sasae is dissatisfied with the current situation for the talks. "At present, I see no concessions," said Sasae, speaking in Japanese. "The talks will go on Sunday, but the prospect is not so bright."

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo hosted a dinner in honor of chief delegates at western Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guesthouse Saturday evening to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most important traditional festivals in China, ROK and DPRK.

In China, the Mid-autumn festival falls on Sunday this year with reference to lunar calendar. Eating mooncakes while enjoying the full moon is a must for Chinese during their family reunion. For the two neighbors in Korean peninsula, the festival goes from Sept. 27 to 29.

"The draft common document China presented is the most realistic scenario for the parties to reach an accord, an excelled piece of work all the parties created," Dai spoke to the chief delegates.

China set forth a new draft common document on Friday, shedding a gleam of hope that the nuclear talks could avert a breakdown amid great differences. The draft document involves the DPRK's right to civilian nuclear programs and a light-water reactor, said Russian negotiator Alexander Alexeyev Friday.

If passed, the document will be the first of its kind since six-party talks was launched in 2003.

But Alexeyev said the talks will get into another recess if all the parties cannot reach an agreement on the draft by Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday, chief negotiators again conferred on the draft common document proposed by host China, and held a flurry of bilateral contacts. Yet the DPRK and the United States remain far apart, blocking the outcome of an agreement on principles.

The DPRK and the United States, the two main parties at the talks, showed little sign of concessions Saturday. The DPRK delegation insisted on its right to civilian nuclear programs, especially a light-water reactor, while the US side rejected the DPRK's demand, saying it is not on the table.

The DPRK has not voiced its opinions on the draft. The country maintained firm stance on its demand for a light-water reactor Friday, saying Pyongyang could accept joint management and inspection after a light-water reactor is built.

"In order to establish mutual trust and consider the US concerns, we can accept joint management and inspection after a new light-water reactor is built. This demand is not unreasonable," said the DPRK delegation spokesman Hyon Hak-bong.

Hyon said the DPRK will continue to pursue peaceful nuclear programs in its own way no matter whether the United States would provide the country with a light-water reactor.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that Washington would not depend wholly on the talks to resolve the Korean nuclear issue and is taking measures to prevent proliferation.

"We're not sitting still, you know, we're working on anti-proliferation measures that help to protect us," Rice said ina interview of New York Post on Thursday. "We are not wholly dependent on negotiations to get this done," according to a transcript released by the US State Department.

Chief US negotiator Christopher Hill held a third one-on-one meeting with DPRK chief Kim Gye-gwan Friday morning since the resumption of the talks Tuesday. Hill said he had "good discussions" with Kim. "We are still in business," Hill said.

"But at this moment I don't know where those (discussions) would lead," Hill told reporters after a luncheon with ROK and Japanese delegation heads.

The ROK delegation chief Song Min-soon said the six-party talks are now at "the critical moment". The outcome rests on whether the parties could reach an agreement on the draft document presented by host China, said Song Friday.

The first three rounds of six-party talks ended inconclusively.The fourth round began in late July and then went into five-week recess on Aug. 7.

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