Third Round of Six-Party Talks Concerning North Korean Nuclear Issues

The third round of the Six-Party Talks on North Korean issues was held from June 23 to June 26 at Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing, People's Republic of China.

1. General Evaluation

(1) The Japanese side attended the third round of the Six-Party Talks from the stance of making an active contribution based on the results of the Japan-DPRK Summit Meeting held on May 22, 2004, in Pyongyang, to advance substantive discussions in order to reach a resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

(2) At the meeting, both the DPRK and the United States (US) presented proposals that incorporated measures that should be taken by the six parties as first steps towards resolution of the nuclear issue, after which each country in the talks, including Japan, presented concrete suggestions and recommendations. The six parties found common ground in their understandings and proposals in the sense that focus is given to first steps towards unclear dismantlement. From this viewpoint, the third round of the Talks laid a useful basis for further discussions.

(3) On the other hand, (i) there were some differences in position between the DPRK and other parties concerning the scope of preliminary measures (whether or not to include uranium enrichment) and verification procedures; and (ii) while the DPRK aims for an agreement on freezing of its nuclear programs and compensatory measures, Japan, the US and the Republic of Korea (ROK) seek an agreement on a framework towards "dismantlement" of nuclear programs. The six parties will persistently continue their work through the working group and at the next round of the Six-Party Talks scheduled to be held by the end of September.

2. Japan's Position

(1) From the perspective of making an active contribution with a view to advancing discussions, Japan shared with other parties the details of the Japan-DPRK Summit Meeting held recently. On the premise that the "freezing" by the DPRK is defined as a first step towards dismantlement of its nuclear programs, Japan announced its readiness to join in energy assistance through the Six-Party Talks based on the following conditions: (i) that the scope of "freeze" covers all nuclear programs, including the uranium enrichment program; (ii) that the DPRK would declare all unclear programs; and (iii) that freezing would be adequately verified.

(2) The Japanese side pointed out that there would be no stronger "security assurances" than those provided through the six-party talks. The Japanese side also emphasized the importance of resolution of the missile issue.

(3) The Japanese side reiterated its intention of providing economic cooperation once various concerns such as the nuclear, missile and abduction issues had been comprehensively resolved based on the Pyongyang Declaration, and relations have been normalized.

3. Japan-North Korea Contact concerning the Abduction Issue

(1) In opening remarks at the Six-Party Talks, the Japanese side pointed out the importance of resolving the various concerns between Japan and the DPRK, including the abduction issue. In their keynote speech, the US side also expressed support for the Japanese stance regarding the abduction issue and its efforts.

(2) A meeting was held between Japan and the DPRK, with Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan representing the DPRK side. At this meeting the Japanese side pressed strongly for the remaining issues to be resolved based on the Japan-DPRK Summit Meeting, in particular the early realization of a reunion of Mrs. Hitomi Soga with her family in a third country, and the swift implementation of a reinvestigation into the 10 remaining abductees the whereabouts of whom remains unknown, and the disclosure of the results. The DPRK side responded that they intended to provide the necessary cooperation for a swift reunion in a third country of Mrs. Soga with her family and that other points raised by Japan would be conveyed back to Pyongyang.

(3) The North Korean side repeated that they highly appreciated the visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to the DPRK and would continue to address outstanding issues based on the Pyongyang Declaration.

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