Beijing (AFP) Jul 26, 2005
Key proposals in the previous three rounds of talks aimed at ending the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons drive, all of which ended inconclusively.
The talks involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States as the fourth round got underway in Beijing Tuesday:
1st Round: August 27-29, 2003
The United States says it wants "a complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" of North Korea's nuclear programmes before it considers economic assistance and diplomatic normalization.
North Korea says it is willing to give up its nuclear ambitions if the US resumes fuel supplies cut off in the previous December.
It says it would allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities if Washington signed a non-aggression accord with Pyongyang. It would also resolve concerns about its missile development if diplomatic ties with the United States and Japan were normalized.
North Korea would also scrap its nuclear programme when a US-led consortium completes the construction of two light-water nuclear reactor in the Stalinist state, it said.
2nd Round: February 25-28, 2004
The US says it still wants "a complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" of the North's nuclear programmes before it offers the economic and energy aid and security guarantees that Pyongyang wants.
It warns that Pyongyang's prolonged silence about its alleged uranium-enrichment programme -- which could help it build a nuclear bomb -- could jeopardize diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis.
However, it also indicates a willingness to consider a freeze of North Korea's nuclear programme as a first step in the dismantling process.
North Korea replies that the freezing of its nuclear programme would only happen after the issue of compensation was resolved.
In an attempt to broker a breakthrough, South Korea lays out a three-stage proposal for ending the showdown.
In the first phase, North Korea is to declare it intends to abandon all nuclear weapons programmes, while the other participants in the talks will promise to provide security guarantees.
In the second phase, North Korea is to freeze its nuclear facilities and to return to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and accept inspections of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). South Korea, Russia and China will provide energy and heavy fuel oil in return.
In the third phase, North Korea will complete the elimination of its nuclear programs and the United States will give it a written security guarantee.
3rd Round: June 23-25, 2004
The US proposes a new plan which requires North Korea to give an up-front pledge to dismantle all its plutonium and uranium weapons programmes before receiving any energy and other assistance.
If the North agrees to the new plan, it would receive "non-nuclear energy assistance," including oil and food, and "some assurances on the security side" from the United States.
Also, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea would start sending tens of thousands of tons of heavy fuel oil every month while the US would offer a "provisional" guarantee not to invade the country.
The US would also begin direct talks about lifting an array of American economic sanctions, and knocking North Korea off its list of terrorist states.
According to the proposal, Pyongyang would have three months as a "preparatory period of dismantlement" to seal and shut down its nuclear facilities.
After that, progress would depend on North Korea allowing international inspectors into the country and meeting a series of deadlines for disclosing the full nature of its facilities, dismantling them, and shipping them out of the country.
Seoul also offers to provide energy and other economic aid to the North if it yields to the US demand for a "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" of its nuclear programmes, both plutonium and enriched uranium.
North Korea rejects the US offer and instead wants a step-by-step approach to weaning itself off its nuclear programmes.
It proposes a six-point offer centred around freezing the operations of its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon. It says the freeze would allow inspections, but expresses reservations about accepting inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
But it says it would only offer a concrete plan for the freeze if the US withdraws its demand for the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement and accepts its demand for compensation.
It reiterates that it is prepared to abandon its nuclear weapons, only if Washington dropped its "hostile policy".
4th Round: Start July 26, 2005
The fourth round of talks open with each country stating their positions. North Korea says it is ready to work with other countries to denuclearise the Korean peninsula and called for "strategic decisions" to make this possible.
The US says it recognises North Korea as a "sovereign nation" and is ready to address the Stalinist state's security concerns. It calls for a full and verifiable dismantling of its nuclear weapons.
Before the talks start, South Korea offers to route some 2,000 megawatts of electricity to North Korea and provide 500,000 tonnes of rice if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear drive. Seoul begins delivering the rice as talks resume.
South Korea also offers to provide funds and raw materials to help the North produce daily necessities such as garments, footwear and soap from 2006.
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Analysis: How To Denuclearize Korea
Seoul, (UPI) July 26, 2005
Hopes are running high for progress in the six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons drive as negotiators have started "open-ended" discussions on an optimistic note.
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