CHINA CALLS FOR MORE KOREA NUCLEAR TALKS


2003-09-03
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Beijing says it has 'no reason to be disappointed'

China, host of last week's six-party talks on the crisis over North Korea's nuclear program, has urged the participants to keep talking, RFA reports.

New talks are needed to address the disagreement between Pyongyang and Washington in greater detail, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said.

While no new ground had been broken in the discussions, the parties concerned were able to "learn more about each others' positions and laid the foundation for future enhancement of consensus and reduction of differences," Kong said

He said negotiators were still in consultation over the timing of another round. After the talks, North Korea rejected calls for further negotiations and threatened to strengthen its "nuclear deterrent force." On Tuesday, however, North Korea's state-run news agency, KCNA, said the North was willing to continue the six-nation talks.

Kong also urged the United Nations to remain "prudent" should the issue come up at this week's Security Council meeting.

"In the six-way talks, and actually before the talks, the antagonism between the DPRK [North Korea] and the U.S. was serious," Kong said. During the negotiations in Beijing, North Korea repeated on many occasions that it felt threatened and contained by the U.S. and that "the negative policy of the U.S. side was a big obstruction," he said.

"How the U.S. is threatening the DPRK, this needs to be further discussed in the next round of talks, especially between the U.S. and the DPRK," Kong said. The issue of U.S. domination in a unipolar world is also a key issue in China's own foreign policy, which is being forced to a greater maturity by the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

The time and place for the talks were subject to the agreement of all parties, Kong said, while urging all participants, which also include South Korea, Japan and Russia to keep channels of communications open.

South Korean foreign minister Yoon Young-kwan is flying to Washington to discuss the results of last week's talks. Yoon will meet his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice the following day and Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz in three days of meetings.

Meanwhile, a North Korean vessel which focused minds in Japan just ahead of the talks on kidnapping and smuggling activities carried out by Pyongyang will return to Japan this week.

The Mangyongbong is the only passenger ferry linking the two countries. Pyongyang calls it a lifeline of humanitarian contact between ethnic Koreans in Japan and their relatives back home, but the United States and Japan say the ship has long been a conduit for smuggling missile parts and illicit funds to North Korea.

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