The three-way talks in Beijing to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue have ended in a deadlock, amidst a “revelation” that Pyongyang possesses nuclear weapons.
The United States insisted that Pyongyang first give up its nuclear programme before engaging in a dialogue. North Korea did not agree, instead offering an undisclosed “new bold proposal”. The Beijing meet was to convince the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.
Kelly: North Korea should scrap
its nuclear programme before
An official statement issued in Beijing after the meeting however termed the talks as a “good beginning”. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the US, North Korean and Chinese negotiators agreed to keep diplomatic channels open on the possibility of further talks on the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
It did not mention specific plans for further talks after this week's three days of closed-door discussions.
"All the participating parties considered the Beijing talks a good beginning of a process leading to the settlement of the North Korea nuclear issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, North Korean negotiator Li Gun and the leader of the Chinese delegation ended three days of closed-door talks with a handshake, Liu said. The parties "achieved better understanding" of their positions during the talks.
"All the parties demonstrated their desire for peaceful settlement of the issue. All the parties agreed to further study the positions of other sides and liaise through diplomatic channels on furthering the Beijing talks," he said.
Kelly after the talks informed Japan that a North Korean negotiator conceded that his country possesses nuclear weapons.
Referring to a discussion between Kelly and Mitoji Yabunaka, the director general for Asian and Oceanic affairs in Japan’s foreign ministry, a Japanese official said, “Kelly called Yabunaka and told him his North Korean counterpart, Li Gun, had said North Korea possessed nuclear weapons.”
Protesters tear a North Korean flag at a
rally in Seoul in March to protest
Pyongyang's nuclear programme
Without mentioning anything about nuclear weapons, a North Korean foreign ministry statement from Pyongyang said it had offered “a new bold proposal” during the talks.
In response to its proposal, the “US however, repeated its old assertion that the DPRK should 'scrap its nuclear programme before dialogue' without advancing any new proposal at the talks," the statement said. "And it persistently avoided the discussion on the essential issues to be discussed between both sides."
"As the DPRK set out a new proposal for the settlement of the nuclear issue, proceeding from its stand to avert a war on the Korean peninsula and achieve lasting peace and stability, it will follow the US future attitude toward it,” the statement said.
The suspicion and the revelation of nuclear weapons on possession of North Korea has risen tension levels in the region. US President George Bush who had earlier included Pyongyang in the “axis of evil” has indicated that Washington would like to resolve the nuclear weapons issue through dialogue.