round of six-party talks started on July 26, 2005 in Beijing
after a 13-month-long impasse and no date of conclusion was set for the
fourth round of talks
third round of talks held in June 2004, countries involved in the issue
(China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., and North Korea) failed to
meet again in September as it was scheduled; the U.S. presidential elections
delayed further the possibility of resumption of talks especially that North
Korea wanted to wait for the outcome of the elections. In his televised
debate with President Bush the democratic candidate John Kerry called for
bilateral talks with North Korea, saying that it was the best way for
solving the nuclear standoff.
Bush was re-elected for a second term to the dissatisfaction of the North
Koreans who they do not regard the Bush administration as a partner in the
negotiations for the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue. Tension
quickly mounted between North Korea and the U.S following the declarations
of the new Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in which she described
North Korea as an outpost of tyranny; North Korea responded by suspending
its participation to the six-party talks, and declaring that it has
manufactured nuclear weapons for self-defense to counter the U.S. hostile
later softened its stance and tacitly withdrew its previous remarks, and
engaged in unofficial contacts with North Korea in New York in the month of
June, which paved the way to the resumption of the multilateral talks.
round of six-party talks held in two phases from July 26 to August 7, and
from September 13 to 19, twenty days in total,
total number of days of talks held during the previous three rounds of the
finally the participants (China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. , and
North Korea ) succeeded to agree on a set of principles document that was
signed in the last day of talks, however the latter is subject to different
interpretation, and indeed one day after its signature, North Korea
explained its version of the document it has signed up for.
the start of the
The United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
showed flexibility, both declared that
common goal was a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
The United States said at the opening ceremony of the talks that it regards
the DPRK as a sovereign state and has no intention of invading or attacking
US chief negotiator Christopher Hill said: "The six-party talks offer a
better future for the DPRK; If the DPRK decides to dismantle its nuclear
program permanently, fully, verifiably, the other parties including the US
are prepared to take corresponding measures consistent with the principle of
words for words and actions for actions."
The DPRK said it is ready to "sail to the goal" of a denuclearized Korean
Kim Kye-gwan, head of the North Korean delegation, said Pyongyang is
willing to abandon its nuclear program if the nuclear threat from the US is
eliminated and bilateral relations normalized, he said the common goal for a
nuclear-free Korean Peninsula should be realized step by step based on
Kim also vowed North Korea would abandon its nuclear weapons program in a
verifiable way if Washington promises to give up its intention to overthrow
the North's political system and adopts peaceful coexistence.
China, however, has warned that the road to a nuclear-weapon-free Korean
Peninsula might be complicated and tedious.
"There is a common wish that the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearized
through dialogue within the framework of the six-party talks, but I think
the road is a complicated one."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
Negotiators from the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan have also
voiced hopes that this round of talks would bear some fruit. In addition,
Japan has insisted that the issue of the DPRK's abduction of Japanese
nationals be addressed as well.
However, the ROK delegation urged all parties concerned to focus their
efforts on trying to realize the target of building a nuclear-weapons-free
South Korea proposed a joint statement, under which North Korea would
commit to giving up its nuclear program, while in return other countries
would pledge to normalize relations with Pyongyang by offering security
guarantees and economic assistance; the joint statement could be signed
based on the principle of "words for words" and "actions for actions," the
South Korean delegation said. It also pledged to offer continuous and
sustainable electricity aid to Pyongyang if the latter decides to abandon
its nuclear program.
Japanese chief negotiator Kenichiro Sasae said that Japan is willing to
cooperate with other countries and participate in the talks in a
constructive manner. He said the normalization of relationship between Tokyo
and Pyongyang is in the common interests of both sides.
The delegations of the US and North Korea held several one-on-one meeting
within the framework of the six-party talks in an
attempt to narrow their differences; the US delegation head Christopher Hill
and his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye-gwan first held a 75-minute meeting
at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse one day before the start of the multinational
Negotiators from the six parties attending the fourth-round Korean
Peninsula nuclear talks strived for the drafting of an all-acceptable joint
document, as the talks were in progress.
Deputy heads of delegation from the six parties discussed the draft
document, which was proposed by the Chinese delegation based on an
integration of stances of all parties.
China's initial draft called on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons
programs in exchange for the other five participants' offering of security
guarantees, economic aid and the normalization of relations. It did not
address who should act first or if the parties should move simultaneously,
escaping the issue of timing, which has sparked fierce debate.
China reworked the draft and proposed it to the talks again after
disagreements emerged; the new draft had included the mention of Seoul's
offer to supply Pyongyang with 2,000 megawatts of electricity if it
abandoned its nuclear weapon programs. However Pyongyang was worried that
the deal could still pose a security threat to the country. The worries
centered on what would happen if Seoul cut off the electricity supply.
Talks on the Korean nuclear issue were deadlocked when the US and North
Korea could not agree on the latter's nuclear programs for peaceful purposes
-- the key stumbling block in negotiations.
North Korean chief delegate Kim Kye-gwan insisted that his country should
enjoy the right for peaceful nuclear activities, the US was the only country
opposed to its use of nuclear energy for civilian purposes, such as nuclear
power plants, he said; "We are here to be committed to the denuclearization
of the Korean Peninsula. However, we want to reserve the right for the
peaceful nuclear activities," he added:
"All nations in the world have the right for the peaceful nuclear
activities. North Korea is neither a defeated nation in a war nor a nation
having committed any crimes, so why shouldn't we be allowed to use the
nuclear power peacefully?" earlier, the US State Department said any nuclear
program can be turned into a nuclear weapons project by North Korea.
After long days of non-stop negotiations, talks hit another hurdle --
differences between North Korea and the US on what steps each side should
take to achieve a nuclear weapons free North Korea.
In exchange for dismantlement, North Korea has demanded normalization of
ties with the US, as well as economic assistance including fuel oil aid, and
The US has persistently demanded that North Korea give up its weapons
programs before it gets aid and energy.
On August 7, after a 13-days-talk,
all the six parties to the fourth round of the Korean nuclear issue talks
agreed to take a recess and resume the talks in the week that begins on Aug.
29. Wu Dawei, the Chinese delegation head said that the specific date of the
resumption of the talks were not determined, however during the break, all
the parties would keep contact and continue consultations.
Wu down played the failure of the fourth round of talks, he said: "since
the fourth round of the talks began 13 days ago, the six parties have been
working on a roadmap for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. If we
are climbing a mountain, we've already seen the peak of it. Now we decide to
take a recess so that we can reach the peak more smoothly."
He also expressed the belief the six parties would one day reach an
agreement on the common document for the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
The second phase of Korean nuclear talks was delayed to the mid of
September instead of the week beginning on August 29, North Korea refused to
attend the talks during that period, citing what it described as hostile and
insulting behavior of the US.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said:
"No sooner had the talks gone into recess than the US began the large-scale
war exercises 'Ulji Focus Lens-05' with South Korea targeted against North
Korea, and appointed a presidential envoy for the human rights issue of
North Korea. These have thus eliminated all possibilities of holding the
second phase of the talks in the week beginning August 29,"
He added: it was "unimaginable" for North Korea to sit at the negotiating
table with the US at a time when the powder-reeking war exercises targeted
against it are under way. "What the US has done has seriously insulted its
dialogue partner and broke faith with North Korea,"
He said North Korea, through the New York contact channel in the UN
headquarters, had notified the US of its stand, and the US expressed
understanding of this view
"It is the stand of North Korea to open the second phase of the
fourth-round six-party talks in the week beginning September 12 when the war
exercises have probably worn down a bit," he said.
The second phase of the fourth round of six-party talks was resumed on
September 13, in Beijing after a five-week recess. Despite the fact that
North Korea and the US had contacts through the New York channel during the
period of recess, both sides were unable to soften their stances. The
stumbling block was still whether Pyongyang is allowed for the right to have
a civilian nuclear program. North Korea insisted on the right while US
wanted full dismantlement of its nuclear program.
Talks were focused on the fourth draft of a common document proposed by
China during the first phase talks,
US delegation head Christopher Hill
said "We consider the fourth draft to be a very excellent basis for reaching
the goals of principles that will guide us to the eventual agreement,"
Kim Gye-gwan North Korea’s chief delegation said: "North Korea has the
right on peaceful nuclear activity. This right is neither awarded nor needs
to be approved by others, we have this right, and the more important thing
is that we should use this right."
Song Min-soon, head of the South Korean delegation to the fourth round of
six-party talks said that North Korea should first dismantle its nuclear
weapon program before considering the peaceful use of nuclear energy,
adding: "When North Korea completes the dismantlement of its nuclear weapon
and program, they can have their right to peacefully use nuclear energy."
North Korea insisted on the right to have a civilian nuclear program
including building a light-water reactor, but the US rejected the North
Korean demand. Chief US negotiator Christopher Hill declared that neither
the United States nor any other participants in the six-party process is
prepared to fund a light-water reactor, and that Pyongyang could get
conventional energy, security guarantees and economic assistance under the
fourth draft of a common document circulated by China. He clarified that
North Korea's demand for a light-water reactor has gone beyond the fourth
North Korea asked also the US to remove its nuclear weapons from South
Korea, the US said they are not there, and it had shipped all nuclear
weapons outside the Korean Peninsula in 1991; North Korea asked the US to
allow verification to confirm that.
After three days of talks, the position of each participating delegation
was as the following:
The Chinese delegation:
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said that China will, as
before, hold in-depth consultations with concerned parties with a positive
and pragmatic attitude, he added that the denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula is a complex issue and requires both patience and
The North Korean delegation:
The North Korean delegation spokesman Hyun Hak Bong said that the major
stumbling block to the talks is the issue of providing a light-water
reactor. "Providing a light-water reactor is a matter of building trust,"
said Hyun, adding it is "a problem related to the US' political will to give
up its hostile policy towards North Korea."
The US delegation:
Chief US negotiator Christopher Hill has rejected North Korea's demand for a
light-water nuclear reactor, saying that the issue was not included in the
fourth draft of a common document.
"The light-water reactor for us is a non-starter," Hill said.
The South Korean delegation:
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said in New York that South Korea
believes that all parties share the goal of the denuclearization of the
Korean Peninsula, and that North Korea must abandon all nuclear weapons and
programs and return to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and accept
the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Meanwhile, North Korea should have the right to the peaceful use of nuclear
power after it regains trust from the international community, he said.
The Japanese delegation:
Japanese chief negotiator Kenichiro Sasae said that North Korea should give
up all its nuclear weapons and programs and North Korea's demand for a
light-water reactor is unacceptable.
He said that if concerned parties cannot agree on the light-water reactor
issue, it is very hard to reach a common document.
The Russian delegation:
Russian delegation head Alexander Alexeyev has maintained that North Korea
has the right to peaceful nuclear utilization.
Before coming for the talks, Alexeyev said in Moscow that North Korea can
expect cooperation from other countries on nuclear energy if it returns to
the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
After four days of talks US chief delegate Christopher Hill said that
bilateral talks with North Korea went into a "standoff". Hill said major
"disagreement" exists between US and North Korea. "North Korea has a whole
new concept," he said, noting that the previous four drafts of common
document didn't include the light-water reactor issue. He also reiterated
that no party involved would fulfill North Korea's demand for light-water
reactor, saying "it is not economic or energy issue but a political issue."
The US and North Korean chief delegates had two bilateral meetings during
the first two days of the ongoing fourth round of the six-party talks.
In a bid to
overcome the deadlock, China the host of the talks set forth a new draft
common document, which involves North Korea's right to civilian nuclear
programs and a light-water nuclear reactor.
Vice Foreign Minister Dai hosted a dinner in honor of chief delegates to
the six-party talks at Beijing's Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Saturday
evening September 17, 2005 to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most
important traditional festivals in China, South and North Korea.
Addressing the dinner, Dai said that, on the basis of hearing and taking
fully into account the six parties' opinions and making ensuing prudent
studies, China, as the host nation, had proposed a draft common document
with regard to concerns and interests of all the parties.
"It is the most realistic scenario for the relevant parties to reach an
accord, an excelled piece of work all the parties created," Dai said, adding
it is also a "balanced" and "win-win" proposal.
He said for these days, the six parties had conducted "serious, pragmatic
and in-depth" discussions, and made positive efforts to promote consensus on
a common document of principles. They have made "new progress," he added.
The heads of delegations to the six-party talks concluded their brief
meeting to discuss the wording of the draft common document in Beijing
Sunday morning, US chief negotiator Christopher Hill said the differences
between the delegations remained.
"The issue is how we express the elements in the text, the US delegation
prefers a less ambiguous text," said Hill.
"But we are trying to work with it, and we are really trying to reach
something with it. We are setting principles, but being in general
principles doesn't mean you create ambiguities and lead the way to confusion
and lead the way to problems in the future," he added.
round of six-party talks
on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue ended on Monday with a plenary
meeting of the six delegations, during which a joint statement was adopted.
The statement says the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is
committed to abandoning all its nuclear weapons and existing nuclear
programs and returning, at an early date, to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) and to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
US affirmed in the document that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean
Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or
The fourth round of six-party talks was held in Beijing in two phases, from
July 26 to August 7 and from September 13 to 19. Parties to the talks were
China, the DPRK, the US, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan. Vice
Foreign Minister Wu Dawei also head of the Chinese delegation, chaired the
Wu said that the joint statement is the most significant achievement in the
talks initiated two years ago.
The six parties held, in the spirit of mutual respect and equality,
"serious" and "practical" talks concerning the denuclearization of the
Korean Peninsula, according to the statement.
It says the six parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement their
consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of "commitment for
commitment, action for action."
They also agreed to hold the fifth round of six-party talks in Beijing in
early November this year at a date to be determined through further
The statement says the ROK reaffirmed its commitment not to receive or
deploy nuclear weapons in accordance with the 1992 Joint Declaration of the
Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while affirming that there exist
no nuclear weapons within its territory.
The 1992 Joint Declaration should be observed and implemented, the
The DPRK stated that it has the right to the peaceful use of nuclear
energy. The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss, at
an appropriate time, the subject of the provision of light water reactors to
the DPRK, the statement reads.
The six parties unanimously reaffirmed that the goal of the six-party talks
is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful
The six parties undertook to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN
Charter and recognized norms of international relations, the statement
The DPRK and the US have undertaken to respect each other's sovereignty,
exist peacefully together, and take steps to normalize their relations
subject to their respective bilateral policies.
The DPRK and Japan also undertook to take steps to normalize their
relations in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the
settlement of unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern.
The six parties collectively undertook to promote economic cooperation in
the fields of energy, trade and investment, bilaterally or multilaterally.
China, Japan, the ROK, Russia and the US also stated their willingness to
provide energy assistance to the DPRK.
The ROK reaffirmed its proposal of July 12, 2005 concerning the provision
of 2 million kilowatts of electric power to the DPRK.
The six parties are also committed to making joint efforts for lasting
peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
The directly related parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the
Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum.
The six parties also agreed to explore ways and means for promoting
security cooperation in Northeast Asia.
September 20, a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry issued a statement
in connection with the close of the fourth six-party talks. Its full text
reads as follows:
a Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea.
The second phase of the fourth six-party talks on the nuclear issue
between the DPRK and the U.S. that opened in Beijing on Sept. 13, drawing
the attention of the international community, closed on Sept. 19.
The talks that started on the DPRK's positive initiative in August 2003
were held several times for the last more than two years, repeatedly going
through twists and turns.
The talks, however, repeatedly proved fruitless and unproductive due to the
conflicting stands among the parties concerned, contrary to the unanimous
expectation of the international community toward the denuclearization of
the Korean Peninsula. We have approached the talks with magnanimity,
patience and sincerity, proceeding from the principled, fair and aboveboard
stand to achieve the general goal of the denuclearization of the peninsula
at any cost. As a result, we have at last succeeded in meeting all these
challenges, making it possible to agree on the joint statement, "verbal
The joint statement reflects our consistent stand on the settlement of
the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. and, at the same time, the
commitments of the U.S. and south Korea responsible for denuclearizing the
whole of the peninsula. As already known, the issue over which the DPRK and
the U.S. have had most serious differences in the "verbal commitments" to
denuclearize the peninsula so far was the issue of the former's right to
nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose, to be specific, the issue of the
U.S. provision of light water reactors (LWR) to the former. It was due to
these differences that the first phase of the fourth talks held in August
last was compelled to go into recess without yielding any desired fruits.
The present U.S. administration, denying in principle the DPRK the right to
nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose which pertains to an independent
right of a sovereign state, insisted that it could not provide LWRs in any
case under the pretext that the DPRK pulled out of the NPT and is no longer
member of the IAEA. Opposing this wrong stand of the U.S., we made it clear
that the basis of finding a solution to the nuclear issue between the DPRK
and the U.S. is to wipe out the distrust historically created between the
two countries and a physical groundwork for building bilateral confidence is
none other than the U.S. provision of LWRs to the DPRK. We strongly demanded
that the U.S. remove the very cause that compelled the DPRK to withdraw from
the NPT by providing LWRs to it.
At the talks, all the parties concerned except the U.S. supported the
discussion of the issue of respecting the DPRK's right to nuclear activity
for a peaceful purpose and providing LWRs to it.
This time the U.S. delegation got in touch with Washington several
times under the pressure of the trend of the situation and had no option but
to withdraw its assertion. The six-parties agreed to take harmonious
measures to implement phase by phase the points agreed on in the joint
statement in accordance with the principle of "action for action" in the
As clarified in the joint statement, we will return to the NPT and sign
the Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and comply with it immediately upon
the U.S. provision of LWRs, a basis of confidence-building, to us.
As already clarified more than once, we will feel no need to keep even
a single nuclear weapon if the DPRK-U.S. relations are normalized, bilateral
confidence is built and we are not exposed to the U.S. nuclear threat any
What is most essential is, therefore, for the U.S. to provide LWRs to
the DPRK as early as possible as evidence proving the former's substantial
recognition of the latter's nuclear activity for a peaceful purpose.
The U.S. should not even dream of the issue of the DPRK's dismantlement
of its nuclear deterrent before providing LWRs, a physical guarantee for
confidence-building. This is our just and consistent stand as solid as a
deeply rooted rock. We have so far shaped our policies towards the U.S.
hardliners and will do so in the future, too.
One should wait and see how the U.S. will move in actuality at the phase
of "action for action" in the future but should it again insist on "the
DPRK's dismantlement of nuclear weapons before the provision of LWRs", there
will be no change in the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. and its
consequences will be very serious and complicated.
If the U.S. opts for reneging on its promise, we will go ahead without
an inch of deflection along the road indicated by the Songun line, our faith
September 20, Juche 94 (2005)