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Vice FM Wang Yi, Head of Chinese Delegation to the Six-party Talks Gives a Press Conference

2003/08/30

Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, head of the Chinese delegation to the six-party talks said that the Beijing six-party talks marked the establishment of the objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and the beginning of the process of peaceful settlement.

He gave a press conference to domestic and foreign media on August 29, during which he said that the Beijing six-party talks were a historic opportunity to peacefully solving the DPRK nuclear issue. The talks got the personal attention and care of leaders of relevant countries and the extensive attention of the international community. All six delegations came to attend the talks with sincerity and hope to achieve peace.

Wang said that all parties adopted candid and responsible attitudes during the talks, expounded their respective principled positions and propositions revolving around the nuclear issue, and conducted serious discussions about their respective concerns. The various parties also had direct contacts with one another in various forms.

He went on to say that the basic stance of the various sides was positive. The US and DPRK sides conveyed constructive messages. On the US side, it stressed that it was possible to solve the nuclear issue through peaceful means, the US side did not intend to threaten, invade, attack, or seek a regime change in the DPRK, and the US hoped to address issues of mutual concern with the DPRK through negotiations and to move towards establishment of diplomatic ties in a gradual manner. On the DPRK side, it indicated that the DPRK longed for peace and was ready to establish friendship with all countries. A nuclear-free Korean peninsula was the objective of the DPRK and it was not the DPRK's aim to own nuclear weapons. It was willing to give up its nuclear program and peacefully coexist with the US as long as the US side changed its policy towards the DPRK and stopped threatening the DPRK.

He said that there were quite a few diverging views, even sharp ones cropping up during the talks, adding that generally speaking all parties had been calm. While elaborating on their respective positions, Russia, the ROK and Japan did a lot to promote peace.

He said that the six parties did not sit together to play up their differences and rather sought ways to solve problems.

He said that the six parties have reached the following six-point consensus on the Korean nuclear issue, which is the major result of the talks:

-- to resolve the nuclear issue through peaceful means and dialogue. They stressed that the stability and peace should be maintained to achieve lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula;

-- while a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula should be realized, the security concerns of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should also be taken into consideration;

-- to explore an overall plan to resolve the nuclear issue in a just and reasonable manner and in a simultaneous and incremental way;

-- in the process of negotiations any action or word that may aggravate the situation should be avoided;

-- dialogue should continue to establish trust, reduce differences and broaden common ground;

-- the six-party talks should continue and the specific date and venue should be decided through diplomatic channels as soon as possible.

Wang said the six-point consensus reached with the concerted efforts of the six countries demonstrated the spirit of understanding and cooperation and China, as the host country, was very happy about this. He said that the talks marked the establishment of the objective of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and the beginning of the process of peaceful settlement. The principle of simultaneity was widely endorsed, which laid a necessary foundation for the next round of talks. China was of the view that the talks were useful, and marked an important step towards the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue.

Q: Judging from the talks, how many disputes are there between the DPRK and the U.S? How long will it take to solve the DPRK nuclear issue?

Wang: The disputes between the two sides are all-faceted, involving a lot of fields. For example, the DPRK has made it clear for many times that the U.S. imposes a severe threat to the DPRK, but the U.S insists its own stance on this issue. The existence of disputes is real, but what matters is to adopt a right attitude and method to solve them.

The Chinese side always supports a peaceful resolution to the disputes through dialogues. The Korean nuclear issue has a very complicated historical background and realistic principle, and the solution to this issue requires a process, most probably a twisted process. However, so long as all parties have the political will and sincerity, a solution to this issue can be realized completely. The most urgent matter at present is to keep the dialogue momentum that does not come by easily and keep the Beijing-initiated process moving forward.

Q: The U.S demanded a complete, verifiable and non-reversible way to eliminate the DPRK's nuclear project, and at the same time, the DPRK also requested some kind of security guarantee. Could you explain how the two sides put forward a simultaneous solution?

Wang: Indeed the two sides have put forward their respective demands. All parties also expressed and exchanged their views on the Korean nuclear issue, and on the whole they agreed that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States should resolve each other's concerns simultaneously, and in a good order, especially in the situation where the two sides didn't have much trust in each other. I think it is a practical and feasible way to go.

Q: During the three-day talks, was there any direct contact between the DPRK and the U.S delegations? How was the atmosphere, and the content? All parties have done their jobs conducive to peace and talks. And what did China do?

Wang: The two sides have had direct contact with each other in a way acceptable to both. As to the specific content, I am afraid that you must ask the people concerned. But what I can confirm is that this contact enhanced the understanding between the two countries.

China's role is conducive to peace and talks, and we have made a series of efforts to achieve that. But I want to stress that without all parties' support, it is futile for China to do all that. The Beijing three-party talks held in April were supported by the DPRK and the U.S, and the six-party talks were suggested by the DPRK, and supported by all sides. So both talks were the efforts of all parties.

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