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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:11, September 20, 2005
S.Korea hails outcome of fourth round of six-party nuclear talks
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South Korean political and business circles hailed the joint statement adopted at the fourth round of six-party talks aimed to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula earlier Monday.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun welcomed the joint statement calling it an "epoch-making" one which formulated " principles" for the ending of the nuclear issue.

Roh also expressed appreciation especially for the efforts of host China that helped bring the breakthrough in the long-time efforts to resolve the nuclear issue, according to a news release issued by the South Korean Presidential Office on Monday afternoon.

The release also expressed the will that the joint statement can provide momentum in stabilizing the Korean Peninsula.

Earlier Monday, the six parties - China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, Russia, South Korea and Japan - adopted the joint statement in Beijing, in which the DPRK promised to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.

The joint statement is the most substantial one produced by the six-party nuclear talks since the first round of multilateral negotiations opened in August 2003.

The fourth round of the six-party talks was a marathon one, which was held in Beijing in two phases, from July 26 to Aug. 7 and from Sept. 13 to 19 respectively.

The statement says the DPRK is "committed to" abandoning "all nuclear weapons" and "existing nuclear programs" and returning, at an early date, to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of Nuclear Weapons and to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States stated their willingness to provide energy assistance to the DPRK. South Korea reaffirmed its proposal of July 12, 2005 concerning the provision of two million kilowatts of electric power to the DPRK.

Meanwhile, South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young also praised the joint statement as "the accomplishment of South Korean diplomacy."

Chung, who is also the head of the South Korean National Security Council, said at a press conference held on Monday that his government's electricity offer played a key role in reaching the agreement in the six-party talks.

The South Korean government offered a proposal in July to provide two million kilowatts of electricity to the DPRK independently, beginning in 2008, if the latter scraps nuclear weapon program and returns to the NPT.

Although the joint statement came amid the last day of the three-day holiday in South Korea celebrating the Mid-autumn Festival, South Korean political parties gave quick positive responses, welcoming the breakthrough.

"We believe (the joint statement) will also provide a meaningful chance as it not only provided the basis for normalizing North Korea-US and North Korea-Japan relations, but also the basis for peace in the Northeast Asian region," South Korean ruling Uri Party spokesman Rep. Jun Byung-hun said in a statement.

The biggest opposition Grand National Party (GNP) also welcomed the agreement, saying "The outcome (of the talks) is especially meaningful in that it came after continued patience by all the participants, and that the countries have decided to pay the price for peace."

Local business sectors hailed the joint statement as "a great achievement," expressing their excitement over the possible benefits that it could have on their business activities.

Officials at the Federation of (South) Korean Industries, ( South) Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry and local influential enterprises held that the agreement will contribute to "easing the tensions on the Korean Peninsula" and help more foreign direct investment flood in, according to South Korean major news agency Yonhap.

However, local observers also urged continued efforts for a final and peaceful resolution of the nuclear dispute, as the verification of implementation of the agreement may need long time and further negotiations are still needed on the issue of the DPRK 's right on peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Source: Xinhua


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