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Progress expected from six-party talks
By Meng Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-23 00:02

Opening ceremonies for the third round of six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue will be held at 3 pm today at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in downtown Beijing.

Delegations from China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan will participate in the four-day talks.

Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China will stick to its position and try to promote dialogue.

China expects all parties, especially the major parties, to show their sincerity and flexibility and find a reasonable solution acceptable to all as soon as possible.

On the eve of the talks, Wang said the six parties have taken three major steps so far.

He said the goal of building a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula has been established.

The DPRK has explicitly expressed its will to abandon its nuclear programmes and proposed freezing nuclear facilities as the first step.

Wang said all other parties have been committed to solving the reasonable security concerns of the DPRK.

He said the six countries are moving towards solving the issue through peaceful dialogue and formed the six-party talks mechanism.

The first round of the six-party talks was held in Beijing from August 26 to 28 last year. The parties agreed to establish a working group mechanism during a second round of talks in late February.

The first working group meeting was held in Beijing from May 12 to 15, and the participants confirmed that the third round of talks would be held before the end of June, as scheduled. They had a frank and pragmatic exchange of views on the nuclear-weapon-free issue, security guarantee and measures for a nuclear freeze.Wang said the parties started to touch on substantial issues with the establishment of the working groups, gradually deepening the talks.

He said the parties believe the way to solve the nuclear issue is to take co-ordinated steps and solve the issue by the mode of "word to word" and "action to action," meaning relevant parties make concessions and promises on reciprocal basis.

The second working group meeting for the talks ended Tuesday, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue at Tuesday's regular news briefing.

On the basis of the first working group meeting last month, the parties have continued exchanging in-depth views on building a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula and freezing nuclear facilities, as well as corresponding measures, Zhang said.

Branding the working group's discussions as "useful and constructive," Zhang said the parties agreed to continue discussions on their differences.

Consultations also were conducted on related issues, including arrangements for the third round of the six party talks.

The parties attending the second working group meeting agreed to hold discussions on freezing nuclear programmes as the first step, an official with the ROK delegation said Tuesday.

The official said that all the five parties spoke highly of China's role at the end of the two-day second working group meeting Tuesday morning, which was held in a sincere atmosphere.

Wang, who heads the Chinese delegation, met with Russian Ambassador At Large Alexander Alexeyev, head of the Russian delegation, and Kim Kye-gwan, head of the delegation of the DPRK and DPRK deputy foreign minister, as well as Lee Soo-Hyuck, head of the ROK delegation and ROK's deputy minister of foreign affairs and trade Tuesday afternoon for bilateral discussions, Zhang said.

The heads for the delegation from the other two parties are US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the United States James Kelly and Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Mitoji Yabunaka.

Wang said the Chinese delegation will participate in the third round of talks with the unwavering goals of building a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula, peacefully solving the issue through dialogue and firm determination to safeguard the peace and stability of the peninsula.

He said China will consolidate the hard-won consensus among the parties in previous talks, conduct active mediation and promote progress in a stable way.

Wang said difficulties lie in the long existing hostility and mistrust and the complexity of the issue itself.

He said the issue intertwines with the normalization of relations between related countries, the establishment of a peace mechanism on the peninsula and some factors in the domestic situation of some countries.

Wang said the talks have started focusing on substantial issues and have entered the most difficult stage.

He said it is inevitable for the parties to meet difficulties and twists and turns in the process.

The most important thing is to maintain the momentum of dialogue and keep the talks towards its final goal step by step, he added.

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