State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan yesterday said Chinese negotiators were hoping for a swift resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
Meeting visiting Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Minister Song Min-soon in Beijing, Tang said it was hoped the negotiations would start up again before the national New Year celebrations in mid-February.
He said continuing with the talks, aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, was the most realistic approach to resolving the issue.
He said "some consensus" had been reached at the meeting with Song, and China and the ROK would work together to ensure a return to negotiations as soon as possible.
Song arrived in Beijing yesterday on a three-day official visit at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.
At yesterday's meeting he reiterated the ROK's commitment to a diplomatic resolution of the nuclear issue. He said he hoped China and the ROK could cooperate closely on the talks.
After meeting Tang, Song meet Foreign Minister Li for an hour of talks on bilateral relations and the Korean nuclear issue.
No date yet
Although it has been agreed that the negotiations should resume as soon as possible, no date has been set for the next round of the Six-Party Talks, which involve China, the US, the DPRK, the ROK, Japan and Russia.
The failure to set a date follows a flurry of diplomatic visits to Beijing from top nuclear negotiators from the US, the DPRK, the ROK and Japan.
The last session of the talks were held in December but recessed without breakthrough due to differences between the US and the DPRK over financial sanctions.
Hopes have grown that the next session will see real progress as Pyongyang showed signs of willingness to implement a joint statement of September, 2005, in which the DPRK agreed to give up its nuclear program for security guarantees and economic aid, after the USoffered unspecified concessions during bilateral talks in Berlin last week.
A "limited outcome" might be achieved in the upcoming round of talks as positive signs have emerged from the Berlin talks, said Yuan Peng, a researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing.
"The US might offer to lift some of its sanctions on DPRK companies and offer some security guarantees; in return, Pyongyang might commit to suspending nuclear tests and accepting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency," Yuan said.
But Yuan noted the Six-Party Talks are a drawn-out process, and the most likely agreement from a fresh round of negotiations will be the opportunity for yet another round.
Source: China Daily