The Second Round of the Six-Party Talks
(Overview and Evaluation)

March 2004

The second round of the Six-Party Talks on North Korean Issues was held from February 25 to 28 in Beijing, China. The overview and evaluation of the meeting is as follows.

1. Schedule and Venue

February 23: working-level consultation between Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) (Venue: Seoul)
February 24: Prior consultation with the Russian Federation and China (Venue: Beijing)

February 25-28: The second round of the Six-Party Talks (Venue: Diaoyutai, Beijing)

2. Heads of delegation

China: Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi
North Korea: Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan
Japan: Ambassador and Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Mitoji Yabunaka of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
ROK: Ambassador and Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck
Russia: Ambassador and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov
USA: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James A. Kelly

3. Overview and General Evaluation

(1) Japan attended this meeting with the recognition that the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programs and obtaining a peaceful resolution of the issue through the Six-Party Talks process is the basis for peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

(2) At the Six-Party Talks held from February 25, frank and substantial discussions were held on the nuclear issue over the course of four days. The delegations worked on a joint paper in parallel with the talks from the evening of the February 26. The meeting was closed on February 28. Although agreement was not reached on the joint document, a chairman's statement was issued (see attachment).

(3) With regard to the nuclear issue, the following outcomes were obtained through the second round of the Six-Party Talks and a step forward was made.

(a) The six parties reaffirmed the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as their common goal.
(b) Understanding has deepened among many participants on the importance of the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (the so-called CVID) of all nuclear programs by North Korea.
(c) The parties shared the view to tackle the nuclear issue in the form of so-called "coordinated steps."
(d) The parties agreed to hold the third round of the Talks in Beijing by the end of June and to establish a working group for its preparation.

(4) However, due to the differences in the position of the six parties, the following two issues remain outstanding, leaving the future development unpredictable.

(a) The position of Japan, the US and the ROK is to call for the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all nuclear programs by North Korea, but North Korea claims that peaceful uses of nuclear energy should be allowed and that dismantling should be limited to the nuclear weapons development program.
(b) Japan, the US and the ROK are emphasizing that North Korea should admit the presence of the uranium enrichment program, but North Korea is denying such a program exists.

4. Abduction Issue

(1) At the Six-Party Talks, the importance of resolving the abduction issue, which is the most significant issue between Japan and North Korea, was strongly emphasized in the opening keynote speech. Furthermore, the US also noted on the importance and necessity of resolving the abduction issue.

(2) Extremely thorough and honest exchange took place between Japan and North Korea, with Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, during the course of the meeting (meeting of more than one hour on February 25). The Japanese side strongly pressed for a resolution to the abduction issue at an earliest date possible; in more specific terms, the unconditional return of the eight family members to Japan at an earliest date possible and a thorough investigation on the ten people whose whereabouts are unknown. Although no positive response was given from North Korea at this meeting, agreement was made to continue with the intergovernmental consultations.

(3) Japan intends to continue its efforts including calling on the North Korean side in order to resume intergovernmental consultations between the two at an early date and to strive to resolve outstanding issues.

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