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Diplomats gather in Beijing for Korean nuclear talks
2005-07-24 20:31:57 Xinhua English

BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Diplomats are gathering in the Chinese capital Beijing Sunday for an imminent nuclear talks, which was expected to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

The United States is "very much committed" to the fourth round of six-party talks, which was due to open in Beijing on Tuesday, said Christopher Hill, head of the US delegation here Sunday afternoon.

"We would like to make measurable progress.... I wouldn't expect this to be the last set of negotiation," Hill said upon his arrival at the Beijing International Club for residence.

The new round of the talks, which involves China, DPRK, the United States, Russia, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, will begin Tuesday morning at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in downtown Beijing, the venue for the previous three rounds of the six-party talks.

The DPRK and ROK delegations arrived here respectively on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

The two Korean delegations held a 100-minute meeting Sunday morning and reached consensus on "many issues", including forging a framework for the denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula, according to Song Min-soon, deputy foreign minister and head of the ROK delegation.

The ROK delegation will also have bilateral contact with the other four delegations, according to Song.

"The new round of the six-party talks should be made to contribute to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (Nevertheless,) It is hard to expect the solution to the nuclear issue without active and sincere efforts from the U.S.," the DPRK Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a signed article.

The Japanese delegation arrived in Beijing Sunday evening and the Russian delegations is expected to arrive here Monday.

Sasae Kenichiro, director general of the Asia and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry and head of the Japanese delegation, told reporters upon his arrival that Japan will try to make progress in the talks along with the other parties.

He also said Japan hopes to resolve the missile and abduction issue with DPRK.

After the arrival of all the five delegations, the Chinese sidewill host a banquet in their honor Monday evening at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

The fourth round of six-party talks, which was originally scheduled to be held last September, has been postponed due to various reasons.

The resumption of the talks has rekindled the hope for a breakthrough to the nuclear dismantlement deadlock, observers here said.

The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue broke out in the 1990s. From 2003 to 2004, the six countries held three rounds of talks in Beijing, but without any substantial progress.

Compared to the previous three rounds, which last usually three days each, the new round has a number of uncertainties, said Piao Jianyi, a professor with the Asian-Pacific Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The DPRK announced itself as a nuclear nation last February, and heads of delegations for four parties has all changed, except for the DPRK and Russian delegations.

"Signs have indicated that it would be very hard to see major breakthrough or progress for the talks," said another Chinese scholar Jin Linbo in an interview with Xinhua.

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