Six party talks reaches crucial draft text on N. Korea

 

By Amin George Forji

Delegates at the ongoing six party talks at the Chinese capital of Beijing, aimed at ending N. Korea’s Nuclear weapons programme on Monday made a major breakthrough, by reaching a tentative draft document outlining steps for eventual disarmament, after prolonging discussions until late night. The draft text has now been distributed to all the parties concerned for final approval.

 

Speaking to anxious reporters during the early ours of Tuesday, the chief US negotiator, Assistant Sec. Of State Christopher Hill, while making the confirmation said consensus was only reached with every party making some compromises.

 

 

“The Chinese side distributed a final text which will be referred to the capitals of the delegations,” Christopher Hill told reporters.”We will have another meeting tomorrow and we will see if we can get it approved.”

“Everybody had to make some changes to try to narrow the differences,…Let’s get the thing approved, and then we can talk who did what.”He added.

Asked if the talks were going to postpone beyond Tuesday, Hill responded that there will be no problem with that as long as progress is beng made.

“In these negotiations, you stay as long as it takes, and as long as you’re making progress,”

Although the final draft text in question has not yet been made public, the New York Times nevertheless reported that according to he deal, North Korea has been called to complete the “permanent disablement” of it’s nuclear reactor at Yongbyon within 60 days in exchange of energy assistance from the US, China and S. Korea in the form of 500,000 tons of heavy oil as well as other energy and humanitarian assistance. Moreover, China is called upon to provide Pyonyong with food and medical aid.

The South Korea’s diplomat to the talks, Chun Yung-woo told reporters that he was very optimistic that Pyonyong will embrace the new plan.

“I am looking forward to hearing good news today. I hope it will be a good day for all of us,…no country had raised an objection to the principle”

 

Delegates from North Korea, South Korea, the US, Japan, Russia and China convened since Thursday for yet another round of ”stop-start” six party talks which have been going on for over three years now. Pressure for N. Korea to halt it’s nuclear programme intensified after she successfully launched it’s first nuclear test last year in October, prompting severe internatonal condemnaton.

China, a close ally of Pyonyong, has particulary been very instrumental in persuading N. Korea to shut down it’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

If finally approved, the present draft text will be the furthest the six party talks have ever gone.

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