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Six-Party Talks to resume fully today
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-14 06:03

Negotiators from six countries gathered in Beijing late yesterday to reconvene the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks, beginning with a chief delegates meeting.

However, the meeting didn't touch upon any substantive topics, and the talks are to resume formally today after a five-week recess.

The Chinese delegation spokesman Liu Jianchao yesterday described the 45-minute meeting, saying it focused on discussions about how to conduct the talks in a friendly and relaxed manner. No new plan was put forward during the meeting, Liu said.

He said that as with the first phase of the talks, the upcoming gathering will continue to be held in a very flexible manner, featuring one-on-one contacts, top envoy gatherings and group meetings.

China also hosted a banquet for representatives last night, providing another opportunity for all the parties concerned to meet with each other.

Prior to the chief delegates' meeting, China held bilateral meetings with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Republic of Korea (ROK), the United States and Japan respectively.

Liu didn't reveal the details of these meetings.

Though the talks have designated as "open-ending," most observers believe that the talks are unlikely to drag on.

Liu Jianchao said he hoped the talks could finish before Sunday, the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival in which people in China, the DPRK and the ROK enjoy family reunions.

However, Liu said the talks will last as long as it is necessary and promised that he would certainly treat the delegates with the traditional Mid-Autumn delicacy, moon-cakes, if the talks continue until Sunday.

He joked that the talks would help the American and Russian delegates learn more about the Asian traditions.

While the six parties agreed in principle to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful means, Liu said the second phase of the talks should focus on concrete measures to achieve that goal.

"Major differences remain, and it requires efforts from all parties to narrow the gap," he said.

Analysts said the talks are expected to be concentrated on two issues that were narrowed down in the 13-day first phase: the scope of the denuclearization, and Pyongyang's rights to the peaceful use of nuclear power.

(China Daily 09/14/2005 page1)

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