Six party talks on North Korea

Representatives have said that there was much work to be done at a new round of talks on North Korea's nuclear program.

    Christopher Hill is positive that North Korea will continue to cooperate [EPA]

    "I tried to advance the ideas we need on an overall time frame for the second phase [of denuclearisation] ... we had a good discussion, at this point there are no show stoppers."

    Extended talks

    However, he said that the road to disarmament would be long.

    The resumption of the disarmament talks comes after North Korea closed its Yongbyon nuclear reactor on Saturday, the first step it was required to take under a six-nation disarmament accord brokered in February.

    But two other member nations of the forum, South Korea and Japan, said that recent positive developments did not mean that the North was prepared to easily give up its weapons.

    Kim Kye-Gwan said that he was willing to talk about the next steps in implementing the accord.

    "The first phase has been accomplished," China's Xinhua news agency quoted Kim as saying in Pyongyang, referring to the closure of Yongbyon.

    "So the talks will focus on the sequence of the obligations and actions to be taken by the concerned parties in the second phase," he said.

    The February accord states that North Korea will eventually abandon all its nuclear programs in return for energy, aid and security guarantees.

    Further concerns

    However, others involved in the process have stressed that many big hurdles still need to be overcome before North Korea scraps its weapons programme.

    "The journey to denuclearisation is just at the beginning," said Chun Yung-Woo, South Korean envoy.

    "A very difficult and steep road lies ahead. We need to assure North Korea that a bright world will be at the end of that steep road."

    Taro Aso, Japanese foreign minister said that he expected North Korea to make fresh demands that would complicate the disarmament process.

    Under the February accord, North Korea said it would close Yongbyon and allow IAEA inspectors back into the country in return for 50,000 tons of fuel oil.
    The first shipments of oil arrived from South Korea on Saturday, and the North immediately closed the reactor.

    The UN inspectors also returned to North Korea and confirmed that Yongbyon had been shut down.

    North Korea will eventually receive another 950,000 tons of fuel oil if it admits to all its nuclear programs and permanently ends them.

    Meanwhile, the United States says that North Korea has been secretly operating a highly enriched uranium program in parallel with its plutonium-making facility at Yongbyon.

    North Korea has denied this claim.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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