Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, August 29, 2003

Various Sides Exchange Views 'Frankly': Chinese Official

All sides attending the Beijing six-party talks Thursday "frankly" exchanged views on principled stands and proposals they raised Wednesday. This was disclosed by sources from the Chinese delegation attending the talks which entered its second day Thursday.


The Beijing six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue entered their second day at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse Thursday, and the participants held more bilateral and multilateral consultations on the sidelines of the collective talks.

Sources with the Chinese delegation said that the six parties on Thursday further clarified their stances and proposals expounded on Wednesday, and exchanged views in a frank atmosphere.

All sides attending the Beijing six-party talks Thursday "frankly" exchanged views on principled stands and proposals they raised Wednesday, according to the sources.

The talks, among China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, Russia, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, began Wednesday, and are expected to wrap up Friday.

The parties reiterated that de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the common goal of all sides, and the nuclear issue should be solved peacefully through diplomatic means, the Chinese sources said.

In addition, they stressed that relevant concerns related to the nuclear issue should also be handled seriously, the Chinese sources said.

Jeong Woo-jin, an official with the ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, said at a short briefing that the six parties held bilateral or trilateral talks in the afternoon.

Shin Bong-Kil, spokesman for the ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said that the ROK and the DPRK have held bilateral contacts on the sidelines of the six-party talks.

According to a report, the United States, ROK and Japan held trilateral consultations at the US embassy here Thursday morning, just before the collective talks.

Fresh from a landmark meeting with DPRK officials, the United States said Thursday it would hold no formal one-on-one talks with DPRK during a six-way summit to resolve a dispute over the DPRK's nuclear program.

"There will not be any separate formal bilateral meetings with the DRPK," said a US Embassy spokesman in Beijing, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The head of the American delegation, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, met Wednesday with his DPRK counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il.

A press official with the Japanese delegation also proved that Kim Yong Il, head of the delegation of DPRK, and the Japanese head of delegation Mitoji Yabunaka had two contacts, respectively on Thursday morning and afternoon, totaling 40 minutes, exchanging views on the DPRK's nuclear weapon development and abduction of Japanese.

In conversations on the sidelines of the three-day talks to end Friday, Japan urged the DPRK to send the family members of the five Japanese abductees to Japan, Kyodo News quoted Japanese officials attending the talks as saying.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said the DPRK accused Japan of breaking its promise to send back the five people to the DPRK after a temporary homecoming last October, according to Kyodo.

Japanese delegation members also demanded that Pyongyang provide information of other abducted Japanese, Fukuda was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.

The DPRK admitted at a summit meeting last September that it had abducted 13 Japanese from late 1970s to early 1980s

The DPRK said eight of them had died, a claim that Japan doubts, and let the remaining return to Japan for a visit last October while keeping back their family members. The five remained in Japan after the visit.

The Russian delegation head and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losiukov was quoted as saying Thursday that the DPRK delegation showed interest in the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and had no desire to possess nuclear weapons.

The Russian delegation Thursday also held separate meetings with the United States and the DPRK, and its meeting with the DPRKside lasted one and a half hours. Sources quoted Losiukov as saying that all parties were holding consultations on documents concerning the results of the six-party talks.

The next round of six-party talks will likely be held within two months in Beijing, sources cited Losiukov as saying. The sources said all sides attending the six-party talks agreedthat the next round should not be delayed.

Although all the parties and relevant embassies refused to reveal either details or the schedule, it can be foreseen that the talks will move on to their third day, which is also the last day of the schedule.

Qi Baoliang, an expert on Korean issues at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said Thursday all partiesare playing active roles in holding multilateral and bilateral contacts and consultations, showing sincere and down-to-earth attitudes.

The talks this time are "a good start" and the first step to achieving consensus by all parties, said Shen Jiru, a noted researcher and chief of the Division of International Strategies of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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