JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
The delegations of the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, and Japan, headed respectively by Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James A. Kelly, and Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Mitoji Yabunaka, held a Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) meeting in Honolulu on June 13, 2003.
The three delegations noted that at the G8 summit meeting and in the recent series of summit meetings between the ROK and the U.S., the U.S. and Japan, and the ROK and Japan, the international community reaffirmed that North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons will not be tolerated. They agreed to continue to seek a complete, verifiable, and irreversible end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program through peaceful, diplomatic means. The three delegations urged North Korea not to exacerbate the situation, which would require ROK-U.S.-Japan coordination based on the principles agreed by their respective leaders in their recent summit meetings.
The three delegations shared the view that the three-party talks in Beijing April 23-25 were useful, and they expressed appreciation for the PRC's hosting of the talks and its full participation in them. They also exchanged views on the issues discussed at the Beijing talks. Regarding the format of talks to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the three delegations agreed on the necessity of multilateral talks expanded to include other interested parties. In particular, they agreed that the ROK and Japan have vital interests at stake and that their participation in multilateral talks is indispensable.
The three delegations explained their respective positions on bilateral issues with North Korea. They expressed support for the Peace and Prosperity Policy pursued by the ROK and for Japan's efforts to resolve nuclear and missile issues as well as other important issues including abduction cases in a comprehensive manner based on the Pyongyang Declaration. They reiterated that North Korea's relations with them and with the international community as a whole hinge on its taking prompt and verifiable action to end its nuclear weapons program fully and in a verifiable manner. They also reiterated that doing so would provide an opportunity for North Korea to improve its relations with the international community and the livelihood of its people. They reaffirmed their confidence that diplomacy will result in an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which, in turn, will contribute to increased security and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.
The three delegations expressed concern about illegal activities by North Korean entities, including drug running and counterfeiting, and discussed means of cooperating among themselves and with other countries and international organizations to stop such activities.
Finally, the three delegations reaffirmed that continued close consultations and coordination among the three countries remain vital in addressing North Korea's nuclear issue. Considering the importance of ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program, they agreed to hold the next round of trilateral consultations in the near future to further coordinate their respective policies toward North Korea.
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