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Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei Issues Chairman's Statement on the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks and Answers Questions from Chinese and Foreign Journalists

2005/08/07

On the morning of August 7, 2005, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who is also the Chairman of the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks and the head of the Chinese delegation, met with the Chinese and foreign journalists on the lawn outside Fangfeiyuan, Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

First, Vice Foreign Minister Wu read out the Chairman's Statement on the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks:

The first phase of the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks was held in Beijing from July 26th to August 7th. The six parties, in the spirit of mutual respect and equality, held serious, practical and in-depth discussions and consultations in a good atmosphere on the goal of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which led to better mutual understanding, broader common ground and positive progress. They reaffirmed that the goal of the Six-Party Talks is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and agreed to issue a common paper to this end. The six parties conducted in-depth and useful discussions on the paper and reached agreement in many aspects. They decided to have a brief recess so that the delegations can go back to report to their respective governments, further study each other's positions and resolve differences which still exist. During the recess, the parties will continue mutual communication and consultation. The fourth round of the Six-Party Talks will resume in the week starting from August 29, 2005, at a date to be agreed upon.

The six parties reaffirmed their commitment to promoting the Six-Party Talks process.

Later Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei answered the questions of Chinese and foreign journalists.

I. Vice Foreign Minister Wu, the first phase of this round of six-party talks has recessed. What goal should be achieved to mark the end of the fourth round of six-party talks? Currently how far are the six parties from that goal? (CCTV)

The general goal of the six-party talks is to realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It is both a consensus of the six parties and the general task of the six-party talks. Nobody is able to predict when this goal will be achieved, but I'm sure that we will reach it. Our expectation of the fourth round of six-party talks is to work out a roadmap for building a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. To that end all the six parties have made positive efforts during the past 13 days. If we are climbing a mountain, we've already seen the peak of it. We decide to take a recess so that we can reach the peak more smoothly. This is a very important and positive outcome of the first phase of this round of talks.

II. Do you think the recess will impact the momentum of the six-party talks? (Yonhap News Agency)

No, I don't think so. Many consensuses have been reached during the talks up to now and those consensuses are based upon, yet unparalleled by the previous three rounds of talks. We've already won a battle in the long and arduous journey. Undoubtedly the six parties still hold differences on some major issues, but we agreed to resume the talks, which indicates that we are not afraid of those differences but believe we are able to resolve them.

III. How can you ensure that all the parties will promise to make further efforts based on the existing achievements so that they will not start from scrap after the talks resume? What preparations will the six parties make during the recess for the next phase of the talks? (Associated Press)

During the recess, the delegations will report the talks to their governments respectively to study proper solutions of their differences. It is a must for resolving such a big issue as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. During the suspension all the parties will continue keeping communications and consultations and make joint efforts to achieve results after the resumption of the talks. Now I am not in a position to guarantee that we can reach agreement on a joint document after the fourth round of talks resumes. I also want to stress that whether the six parties can sign a joint document is not a symbol for the success or failure of this round of six-party talks. Our discussions over the joint document have enhanced understanding and expanded consensus. The basic principle of the six-party talks is to reach consensus through consultations and all the issues must be agreed by consensus. Any party has the veto power, which has brought some difficulties to the smooth proceeding of the talks. However, we must overcome those difficulties. The concern of any party should be the common concern of all the parties. Consensus can be reached only when the concern of every party is addressed.

IV. After 13 days this round of six-party talks has yet not reached agreement on a joint document and all the parties still hold big differences. Does it mean that the framework of the six-party talks has become insignificant or not? The Japanese delegation raised the hostage-taking issue during this round of talks and after the recess Japan prepares to continue seeking solution of that issue within the framework of the six-party talks. What impact will it have upon the next phase of the six-party talks? (Nikkei Net)

First I want to tell you a news that the DPRK and the Japanese delegations are holding a meeting. The major agenda of the six-party talks is to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues can be solved through bilateral channels. It is a consistent position of China and such a position is respected and understood by the Japanese delegation. I can neither say for sure when we will reach agreement on a joint document nor ensure we will reach the agreement after resumption of the fourth round of talks, but I believe that one day we will reach the agreement.

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