Six-Party Talks to resume on February 8

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-31 07:17

The Six-Party Talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula will restart in Beijing on February 8, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

The announcement came as the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) started talks in Beijing yesterday afternoon on financial sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by Washington.

"There have been contacts between the various parties on how to move the talks forward and implement the joint statement of September 19, 2005," ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing, adding that these contacts have laid the foundation for the resumption of the talks.

In the joint statement, Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.

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Pyongyang had cited Washington's financial restrictions as a reason for boycotting the six-nation talks, but the latter insists the sanctions are for the former's alleged illicit financial activities and have nothing to do with the nuclear disarmament talks.

The upcoming negotiations will be the third phase of the fifth round of the Six-Party Talks launched in 2003. The last phase recessed without a breakthrough in December after five days of negotiations.

The announcement follows a flurry of diplomatic visits in the past week to Beijing by negotiators from the US, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea and Japan. Top US negotiator Christopher Hill and his DPRK counterpart Kim Kye-gwan met in Berlin in mid-January.

Daniel Glaser, the top US delegate to the financial talks, told reporters yesterday he hoped to see "progress" from this week's talks with his DPRK counterpart O Kwang-chol, president of the country's Foreign Trade Bank.

"We are prepared to go through with these talks for as long as it takes to get through our agenda," said Glaser, who is the Treasury's deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes.

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