Yang in DPRK to help resolve N-issue

By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-03 06:40

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi reached Pyongyang yesterday on a three-day visit to discuss bilateral ties and to try to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

His trip comes amid the diplomatic flurry after the settlement of a dispute over DPRK funds last month.

Yang is on a three-nation tour, and flew to the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from Mongolia. He is scheduled to fly to Indonesia on Wednesday.

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Analysts are cautiously optimistic, saying the Six-Party Talks, which began in 2003, saying it has laid out a "road map" for the peaceful resolution of the Korean nuclear issue.

US chief nuclear envoy Christopher Hill paid a surprise visit to Pyongyang in mid-June, during which the DPRK promised to honor its side of an agreement reached in February.

Hill's visit was followed by that of a group of UN nuclear inspectors to arrange for the DPRK to shut down its nuclear facilities.

Though there's no deadline for shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear complex, IAEA deputy director-general Ollie Heinonen said the trip was "fruitful" and his delegation had reached "an understanding" with the DPRK on what should be done.

Tsinghua University's senior professor Liu Jiangyong welcomed the progress but said there are still many uncertainties on the road to denuclearization.

The top US military commander in the Republic of Korea yesterday criticized last week's missile test by the DPRK, saying the country remains a threat.

But Liu said the key obstacle in the next round of negotiations would be the dispute between the DPRK and Japan, rather than the US. "The Six-Party Talks is progressing but bilateral ties are impending the process."

Reports say Pyongyang voiced deep concern on Sunday over Japan's participation in the Six-Party Talks, saying Tokyo's "dastardly" behavior creates doubts whether it is fit to sit at the negotiation table.

Japan tried to disband a pro-DPRK group of ethnic Koreans on that day.

This is not the first time Pyongyang has criticized Japan's role at the Six-Party Talks.

It has done so earlier, but despite that agreed to the landmark disarmament deal in February.

(China Daily 07/03/2007 page2)

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