The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) insisted Tuesday it would not dismantle its nuclear weapons programme until the US gives it civilian nuclear reactors.
"The US should not even dream of the issue of (DPRK's) dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before providing (light-water reactors), a physical guarantee for confidence-building," the DPRK's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang Tuesday urged all parties concerned to seriously fulfil their commitments made at the Six-Party Talks, which ended in Beijing on Monday with the adoption of a joint statement.
"I believe all parties will take a responsible attitude towards the earnest fulfilment of their commitments so as to realize denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula," Qin said.
The negotiators from China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan issued the joint statement on Monday.
In the statement, the DPRK says it has the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and other parties have agreed to discuss, "at an appropriate time," the subject of the provision of light water reactors to the DPRK.
US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli emphasized earlier in Washington that the "appropriate time" for discussing the reactor meant only after Pyongyang rejoins the Non-Proliferation Treaty and accepts inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
But the DPRK vowed Tuesday that it will return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty only after Washington provides it with light water reactors for generating power.
"We will return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and sign the safeguards agreement with the IAEA and comply with it immediately upon the US provision of light water reactors," a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry said.
Qin said the six parties need further consultations on "what the appropriate time is," adding that there are still many problems ahead, though they are not insurmountable .
Asked whether Pyongyang might have misunderstood the order of commitments laid out in the joint statement, Qin said: "I don't think the DPRK side has any misunderstanding."
But Qin said the joint statement is just a general frame. "We hope all parties could continue to push forward the Six-Party Talks in the spirit of mutual respect and equal consultations."
Qin added that as far as he knew, the next (fifth) round of Six-Party Talks was still scheduled to take place in the first half of November.
The United States Tuesday quickly rebuffed Pyongyang's demand. "This is obviously not the agreement they signed," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Kyu-hyung said he expected the DPRK to soften its position ahead of the November talks.
ROK President Roh Moo-hyun said Tuesday his government would again play a meditation role to narrow differences on the solution of the nuclear issue. "The important role of the ROK Government is mediating the differences between North Korea (the DPRK) and the United States," a news release from the Presidential Office quoted Roh as saying.
Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura called Pyongyang's demand "unacceptable."
But Machimura added that the DPRK and Japan have agreed to resume bilateral talks stalled since the end of last year.
Source: China Daily