Korean nuke issue envoys continue diplomacy on eve of talks

Five chief negotiators involved in the Korean nuke issue on Wednesday held intensive meetings to pave the way for the six-party talks that will resume in Beijing on Thursday afternoon.

"Chief Chinese negotiator Wu Dawei held one-on-one talks with his counterparts from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan," sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, without releasing more details.

The flurry of diplomatic consultations came immediately after the four foreign envoys arrived in Beijing on Wednesday.

"This is a very important session," top U.S. envoy Christopher Hill told reporters at the Beijing airport. "We all know what we need to accomplish, and we all hope for success."

The last phase of talks recessed in December last year after five days of negotiations which produced no breakthrough.

Launched in 2003, the talks involve China, the DPRK, the United States, the ROK, Japan and Russia.

"I want to emphasise that real success will occur when we complete the September '05 agreement -- not just when we start (implementing) the '05 agreement," Hill said.

Chief Japanese representative Kenichiro Sasae was on the same plane as Hill.

"Japan will play a constructive role in helping the talks achieve progress," Sasae said at the hotel.

"The upcoming talks must produce a turning point on the DPRK's commitment to denuclearization," top ROK envoy Chun Yung Woo told reporters.

Russian representative Alexander Losyukov, who was the first negotiator to arrive in Beijing Wednesday morning, said Russia will propose working panels during the talks.

Hill and DPRK envoy Kim Kye-Gwan had a rare one-on-one talk in Berlin last month, which was seen as a helpful step in resuming the new round of six-party negotiations.

"The upcoming talks will focus on exploring initial steps in implementing the joint statement," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told the regular briefing on Tuesday.

Under the joint statement reached in September 2005, the DPRK agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.

"Apart from plenary sessions, chief negotiators will hold group meetings and one-on-one talks," Jiang said.

As host, China is counting on all parties to make concerted efforts to produce positive results, the spokesperson said.

Chief DPRK envoy Kim Kye-Gwan will arrive in Beijing Thursday morning.

Source: Xinhua



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