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FM calls for `reasonable expectations'
By Shao Zongwei (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-11 22:48

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Tuesday called for "reasonable expectations" for the first working group meeting of the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

Noting that the parties involved have pledged for "flexibility, patience and pragmatism" at the meeting which begins today in Beijing, Liu said that it requires "a period of time" to narrow down the differences in such areas as how to achieve non-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and the first step in dismantling nuclear programmes.

"We hope that all parties will have in-depth exchanges of their views and put forward sound plans to resolve each other's concerns and prepare for the next round of talks," said Liu at a regular news briefing.

After two rounds of ministerial-level six-party talks, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has sought economic aid in exchange for freezing its nuclear programmes.

The United States, while noting DPRK's need for energy sources, nevertheless asked the country to first dismantle all its nuclear programmes in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" manner.

The second round of six-party talks, which was held in late February, left room for further discussion about the scope for freezing nuclear programmes and how to conduct nuclear inspections on the Korean Peninsula.

Liu said Tuesday that the working group meeting will discuss the issues that the second round of six-party talks "touched upon but did not have time to probe deeper."

"We hope that through full consultations and discussions, related parties will enhance understanding, increase trust and dispel suspicion, seek and build up consensus," said Liu, adding that the meeting is a continuation and a part of the six-party talks.

The open-ended meeting will be attended by delegations from the six countries.

They are headed respectively by Ning Fukui from China, Li Gun from the DPRK, Joseph DeTrani from the United States, Cho Tae-yong from the Republic of Korea, V. Sukhinin from Russia and Akitaika Saiki from Japan.

Starting Tuesday, Ning, who is China's special envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs and chairs the working group meeting, has held separate talks with the heads of the other delegations.

Liu declined to give further details as what the bilateral talks have touched upon.

Taiwan question

Liu Tuesday also reiterated other countries should acknowledge the one-China principle in pursuing and developing diplomatic ties with China.

"If the leader of a country is sincere in developing ties with China, it must respect and accept such a stance of the Chinese Government (that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is a part of China)," said Liu.

Liu was responding to remarks made by the newly-elected president of Panama Martin Torrijos. Torrijos said during his election campaign that he would consider or propose the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing without severing diplomatic ties with Taipei.

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