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South Korea Wants "Active" Steps Before Six-Way Talks

"The joint statement issued at the fourth round of talks is a 'word-for-word' agreement. To discuss its implementation at the fifth round is more important because it is an 'action-for-action' consultation," Ban (pictured) said. AFP photo.

Seoul (AFP) Oct 05, 2005
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon said Wednesday Seoul would consult with other countries on "active measures" to be taken to end the North Korean nuclear standoff even before six-way talks resume next month.

The two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan agreed last month at the fourth round of talks to a statement of principles in which North Korea pledged to abandon its atomic weapons in return for energy and security guarantees.

"We will consult with other relevant states about active measures to be taken even before the start of the fifth round of six-way talks scheduled for early next month," Ban said at a weekly briefing.

He declined to elaborate on what kind of measures South Korea had in mind.

Ban said he would send South Korea's chief nuclear neogtiator and deputy foreign minister Song Min-Soon to the United States and China this month for such consultations.

He said the consultations will focus on "the (North Korean) dismantling of nuclear programs and corresponding measures to be taken (by others) in mutual coordination".

The South Korean foreign minister underlined the significance of the upcoming nuclear negotiations.

"The joint statement issued at the fourth round of talks is a 'word-for-word' agreement. To discuss its implementation at the fifth round is more important because it is an 'action-for-action' consultation," he said.

Ban's remarks followed a new US-North Korean contact in New York amid speculation that Christopher Hill, chief US negotiator, may visit Pyongyang ahead of the resuming of six-way talks.

China, host of six-way talks which is anxious to see progress in the follow-up negotiations, said last week Vice Premier Wu Yi would visit North Korea from October 8 to 11 to discuss the nuclear disarmament issue.

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US, North Korea Hold Direct Talks On Nuclear Weapons
Washington (AFP) Oct 05, 2005
The United States and North Korea have begun direct talks for the first time since the Stalinist state's pledge two weeks ago to abandon its nuclear weapons program, a top US envoy said Tuesday.

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