Nuclear-free peninsula remains goal

By Xing Zhigang (China Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2006-11-02 06:33

China pledged yesterday to stick to the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and push for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks at an early date.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said all participants to the talks share the objective of achieving denuclearization as well as permanent peace and stability on the peninsula.

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"China will work with other sides to move closer to that goal step by step and finally realize it," he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

Li's remarks were China's first official comments following an announcement late on Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry that Beijing, Washington and Pyongyang agreed to resume the six-way talks in the near future.

But there are some worries whether the talks would lead to the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted a nuclear test on October 9.

Li, however, stressed that the three nations' agreement to restart the talks was based on the progress made at the Six-Party Talks in September last year. Pyongyang then committed to scrapping its nuclear programmes in return for energy aid and other benefits.

The negotiations, which also involve Russia, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, have been stalled since last November because of Pyongyang's boycott in protest of sanctions by Washington for its alleged money laundering and other illicit financial activities.

Confirming the planned renewal of the talks yesterday, the DPRK Foreign Ministry said Pyongyang decided to return to the table "on the premise that the issue of lifting financial sanctions will be discussed and settled between the DPRK and the US within the framework of the Six-Party Talks."

But it did not say whether it remained committed to its earlier agreement to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

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