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UPDATED: 07:55, September 20, 2005
Sasae says joint statement "first step" towards settlement of nuclear issue
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Japan's chief negotiator Kenichiro Sasae said Monday that the adoption of a joint statement at the fourth round of six-party talks is the "first step" towards the peaceful settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

"This marks the first step towards the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue," said Sasae at the closing of the latest round of talks.

"We will have to continue to work to reach a concrete agreement with regard to the implementation of the adopted principles," said the Japanese chief negotiator.

On relations between Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), he noted that Japan wants to resume dialogue between the two governments.

"Japan intends to resume the dialogue between the governments of Japan and the DPRK at an early date based on the commitment to implement this agreement together with the DPRK," said Sasae.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura welcomed the joint statement in Tokyo.

The DPRK's commitment to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a verifiable manner for the first time will "provide an important basis" for the six-party talks to realize the goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, said Machimura.

Source: Xinhua

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