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Six-parties continue efforts on a peaceful solution
By Meng Xi & Hu Xiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-24 23:34

Amid in-depth discussions of specific proposals, chief negotiators from the six parties meeting on the nuclear standoff Thursday continued their efforts on their second day to seek ways to reach a peaceful solution.

Following the DPRK, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) came up with their plans on Wednesday, while China, Japan and Russia also put forth their proposals Thursday and the six countries discussed specific solutions,Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at Thursday's regular news briefing.

Zhang said the six parties also held bilateral consultations yesterday.

A diplomatic source revealed that the DPRK and the US side held lengthy discussions yesterday afternoon.

Head of the Chinese delegation, Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said Thursday the third round of talks has gotten off to a "smooth and sound beginning."

He said the parties have reaffirmed important consensus views they have reached so far, which can become the basis forgoing ahead.

A six-point consensus was reached at the first round talks in last August, including an agreement to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and to address DPRK concerns in arange of areas, such as its security concerns.

Wang said all the parties are willing to treat the proposals of others in a serious and forward-looking fashion, showing a spirit of mutual respect and equal consultation.

On the opening day of the third round of talks on Wednesday,Kelly, who is also US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said the US side is determined to solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and will have serious discussions and raise suggestions.

Washington confirmed later that its delegation had put forward a proposal for a series of steps.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters the process would involve "a short preparatory period" for dismantlement and removal which would include the disabling of nuclear weapons components and key centrifuge parts. Permanent and verifiable dismantlement and removal of North Korea's nuclear programmes would follow the brief period.

Boucher added that at the same time, the parties would be willing to take steps to ease the political and economic isolation of the DPRK.

The spokesman said that steps would be provisional or temporary in nature and only yield lasting benefits to the DPRK after the dismantlement had been completed.

Meanwhile, Kim Kye-gwan, head of the DPRK delegation,expressed that his delegation would put forward concrete plans on freezing nuclear programs if the US party withdrew demands for complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement and accepted a "freeze for compensation" programme.

Since the six-party negotiations began last year, it is the first time the two parties to confirm their specific plans for the solution of nuclear issue in the public.

Analysts believe the DPRK has been considering taking some additional actions. DPRK diplomats held informal talks in February in Vienna with officials from the UN nuclear watchdog on a possible resumption of inspections of the country's nuclear complex at Yongbyon.

This was the first reported contact between the DPRK and the International Atomic Energy Agency since inspectors were asked to leave in December 2002.

Thursday, the head of the Russian delegation, Alexander Alexeyev, told Russian journalists, "the accumulation of building materials is being carried out so that it will be possible either at the end of the third round or later to build a foundation firm enough for reaching the ultimate goal - to secure the nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula,"Interfax said.

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