Tuesday, October 31, 2006

N Korea - 6 Party Talks to 'start in weeks'

"Is the nuclear test by the DPRK for the purpose of seeking security guarantees?"
China was seriously concerned by the nuclear test.

Just twenty days after North Korea announced it had tested a nuclear weapon the Six Party Talks may be reinitiated. Chinese and US officials have had ‘informal’ talks with North Korean representatives and according to reports talks may start within weeks [CNN]. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said Tuesday that six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program could resume as early as November or December. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said earlier Tuesday that the chief envoys to the negotiations from China, North Korea and the United States held an informal meeting in Beijing and agreed to resume six-nation talks.
If talks restart, Japan, Russia and South Korea would also be involved. But while Japan welcomed the prospect of a new round of talks, it "does not intend to accept North Korea's return to the talks on the premise that it possess nuclear weapons," public broadcaster NHK quoted Foreign Minister Taro Aso as saying. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev described the announcement as “extremely positive” whilst South Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman Choo Kyu-ho said he hoped such talks would bring a swift cessation of North Korea’s nuclear program. The Six Party Talks stalled a year ago after Pyongyang pulled out in protest at US financial sanctions imposed upon it. The UN imposed further financial and arms sanctions earlier this month after North Korea alarmed the world by testing a nuclear weapon on the 9th October [BBC]. Diplomatic efforts proceeded quickly following the test with Chinese Premier, Hu Jintao calling US President George W Bush within hours of the explosion. Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan later vitisted the United States and Russia on October 11th as Hu's special envoy. Later Tang visited the DPRK, also as Hu's special envoy, and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il met with Tang on October 19th . ROK [South Korea] President Roh Moo-hyun visited China, where the leaders of the two countries agreed to work more closely on the issue. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice then followed up with a visit to China on October 20th. [Xinhua News].

No comments: