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Six Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear programme, Third Plenary Session, June 23-26, 2004

A third plenary session of Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear programme took place from June 23-26, 2004 in Beijing. Documents and statements from the previous plenary sessions are available at:

Analysis of the talks to date is available in Disarmament Diplomacy or on the Acronym web page on WMD Possessors.

The six parties participating in the talks are: China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Russia, Japan, and the United States. This page includes statements and documents as follows:

Chairman's Statement of the Third Round of the Six-Party Talks

1. The Third Round of the Six-Party Talks was held in Beijing among the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), the Russian Federation (Russia) and the United States of America (USA) from June 23 to 26, 2004.

2. The heads of delegations were Mr. Wang Yi, Vice Foreign Minister of China; Mr. Kirn Gye Gwan, Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK; Ambassador Mitoji Yabunaka, Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Ambassador Lee Soo-hyuck, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of ROK;

Ambassador Alexander Alekseyev, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia; Mr. James A. Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, United States Department of State.

3. In preparation of the Third Round of the Six-Party Talks, two sessions of the Working Group were held in Beijing from May 12 to 15 and from June 21 to 22, 2004. The Parties approved the Concept Paper on the Working Group in the plenary.

4. During the Third Round of the Talks, the Parties had constructive, pragmatic and substantive discussions. Based on the consensus reached at the Second Round of the Talks, as reflected in its Chairman's Statement, they reaffirmed their commitments to the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and stressed the need to take first steps toward that goal as soon as possible.

5. The Parties stressed the need for a step-by-step process of "words for words" and "action for action" in search for a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue.

6. In this context, proposals, suggestions and recommendations were put forward by all Parties. The Parties welcomed the submission of those proposals, suggestions and recommendations, and noted some common elements, which would provide a useful basis for future work, while differences among the Parties remained. The Parties believed that further discussions were needed to expand their common ground and reduce existing differences.

7. The Parties agreed in principle to hold the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing by the end of September 2004, at a date to be decided through diplomatic channels with due consideration to the proceedings of the Working Group. The Parties authorized the Working Group to convene at the earliest possible date to define the scope, duration and verification as well as corresponding measures for first steps for denuclearization, and as appropriate, make recommendations to the Fourth Round of the Talks.

8. The delegations of the DPRK, Japan, the ROK, Russia and the USA expressed their appreciations to the Chinese side for its efforts for the success of the Third Round of the Six-Party Talks.

Source: Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, http://www.russianembassy.org.

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New Consensus and New Steps

Remarks on the Third Round of the Beijing Six-Party Talks by Wang Yi, June 26, 2004.

On June 26, 2004, when the third round of the Beijing six-party talks was concluded at noon, head of the Chinese delegation and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi held a press conference. About 200 journalists from home and abroad attended the press conference.

Wang Yi said that building on the achievements of previous rounds of talks, the third round of the six-party talks reached new consensus and made new steps towards denuclearization. The meeting was peaceful in atmosphere, profound in discussions, rich in content, and pragmatic in attitude, reflecting the spirit of mutual respect, consultation on an equal footing, and seeking common grounds while putting aside differences.

He said that in sum, this round of talks have made the following achievements.

First, all the parties put forward their respective solutions and suggestions, which is a result of their accumulated efforts since the activation of the talks over a year ago as well as a reflection of their active political will to promote the peace talk process.

Second, the parties reached consensus on the first steps toward nuclear abandonment. All the parties agreed that to implement nuclear freezing and take corresponding measures is the first step toward nuclear abandonment. The parties also agreed to authorize the working group to reconvene as soon as possible so as to hold more detailed discussions on the scope, duration and verification of the nuclear freezing and on taking corresponding measures to address the concerns of the DPRK. The consensus is conducive to deepening discussions on substantive issues in the future and will help promote the denuclearization process in a down-to-earth manner.

Third, the parties agreed to seek a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue in a step-by-step manner according to the principle of "words for words" and "action for action". This consensus further defined and improved the channel of the resolution of the issue and the principles that should be abided by.

Fourth, the parties reviewed and adopted the Concept Paper of the Working Group and defined its functions, responsibilities and means of operation. This will help the working group to carry out its work in the future in a more effective, standardized and practical manner.

Fifth, the parties basically set the schedule of the fourth round of the talks and issued the second Chairman's Statement, which symbolizes that the six-party talks will continue.

Wang Yi said that this round of talks was convened when the peace talk process had entered a most critical stage. We are satisfied with the above-mentioned progress, which has consolidated our previous achievements and at the same time paved the way for the continuation of the peace talk process in the future. These achievements have not come by easily and therefore should be cherished. In the meantime, we should be fully aware that the nuclear issue is a highly complicated one. Some parties are severely lacking in mutual trust and the basis for the peace talk process is not strong enough. The parties still have quite a few differences, sometimes even confrontations, with regard to the scope and means of nuclear abandonment, nuclear freezing and corresponding measures. With the deepening of the substantive discussions, it is inevitable that there will be various new difficulties, even twists and turns. We are fully prepared psychologically. However, I believe that with the extensive support of the governments and people of the six countries as well as the international community, the goal of denuclearization is irreversible, the peace talk process is irreversible, and the historical trend of the peninsula's marching towards peace and stability is even more so.

When taking questions from the journalists on the role of China in resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Wang Yi said that China had put forward its own solutions, suggestions or recommendations during each round of talks, especially when there emerged some difficulties or even deadlock.

The role of China is to promote the peace talk process through good offices. To date, China mainly exerted influence on three aspects. First, China put forward the overall objective, orientation and channel of the resolution of the nuclear issue, which has been widely echoed by the other five parties and the international community. Second, China promoted the formation of the three-party and later the six-party framework, which has become a continuous process. Third, China played the role of good offices and mediation as host of the talks and has won the recognition of all the other parties. However, China is not the dominating power in resolving the nuclear issue of the peninsula, so the key to the problem is not in the hands of China. We are always fully aware of this and have seen to it that we maintain an appropriate position and role during the process.

This round of talks was conducted focusing on the substantive issues and therefore encountered a lot of difficulties. As host of the talks, China has mainly done the following:

First, China has actively promoted the parties, especially the DPRK and the US, to put forward their respective solutions and has in this way made the talks go deeper. Second, China has time and again urged the parties to show mutual respect, take seriously and carefully study the solutions put forward by other parties. Third, when there was a deadlock, China has come up with a middle course in a timely manner to engage in mediations during the process.

The success of this round of talks is a result of the concerted efforts of all the parties. In the process, China has played its due role.

Source: China Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng.

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United States

June 29, 2004
Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage
Interview on The Hugh Hewitt Radio Show
Washington, DC

MR. HEWITT: ... The North Korean talks are underway. Allegedly, the North Koreans rejected the offer that the United States put on the table in the six-way contact. Is that correct?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, first of all, the talks are over, and I've spoken to our chief negotiator twice in the last two days about this matter. Both sides put new proposals forward. They indicated that they'd have to take these back to capitals and study them. Last night, I met with the Japanese to discuss these matters. We're very satisfied where we are. We think the North Koreans will owe us an answer. We've agreed to have talks, I believe it is, in September. So we're in pretty good shape.

MR. HEWITT: Do you expect that there will be any significant movement before the election? Or will the North Koreans wait it out to see if they are dealing with a President Bush or a President Kerry?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: You know what? You ought to ask that question in Pyongyang. I think they were a little surprised that we were showing some flexibility and the ball is in their court and we'll wait until they answer.

MR. HEWITT: What flexibility did we show, Mr. Secretary?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: We indicated that, as long as at the end of the day there is a complete dismantlement of the nuclear weapons program, we're prepared to be a little flexible on such things as delivery of energy and things of that nature.

MR. HEWITT: Is there any way that we could ever verify what that regime would represent to us, given their longstanding history of -- I mean, they were cheating before the deal was dry in '94.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yeah, they were cheating in '94, as you say, "before the deal was dry." It would take a very intrusive regime to be able to have confidence in the verification. But the fact that we have the five neighbors most intimately involved with a common view toward the need to denuclearize the Peninsula, I think you can have some degree of confidence that the pressure won't be let up on the North Koreans.

MR. HEWITT: Is Beijing assisting us to the level that you would expect in this situation?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yeah, Secretary Powell and the President have congratulated and expressed our gratitude to the leadership in Beijing. They are doing it for their reasons, it's in their interest, but nonetheless, it is a mighty labor and we're appreciative.

June 28, 2004
State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli
State Department Briefing

Q. Do you have anything on result of six-party talks in Beijing? And also there, between U.S.A. and North Korea, anything achieved agreement?

MR. ERELI: The third round of six-party talks ended on Saturday. The discussions in this round were constructive. Several of the parties, including ourselves, South Korea and North Korea, put forward proposals on achieving our shared goal of a nuclear weapons-free Korean Peninsula. I would note that all parties came to Beijing prepared for substantive discussions. Important differences remain between the parties and we are still a long way from agreement, but we believe that the serious engagement that we saw in this third round in Beijing represents progress.

As far as the North Korean reaction to our proposals, which you've read a lot about, I would simply say that there have been various sorts of comments made by North Korea through its official media. Our expectation is that North Korea will study our proposal carefully, and we look forward to continuing discussions, the substantive discussions we had in Beijing and a fourth round of talks.

It was agreed in Beijing, as the Chinese reported, that the six parties had decided in principle to meet again by the end of September, and we would look forward to holding another working group meeting as early as possible to, as I said, continue our discussions on the proposals submitted by the parties during this last round.

Q. You said that all parties came to Beijing ready for substantive talks. Would you characterize these talks as substantive?

MR. ERELI: Substantiative discussions.... in the sense that they talked about the substance of the proposals, as opposed to just sort of procedural things. I mean, they engaged in the meat of the issue.

Q. Well, when you say they talked about the substance of the proposal, the North Koreans were asking the U.S., and presumably the South Koreans, about -- they were asking you to flush out more details of the proposal? ...

MR. ERELI: There were sustained and -- there were sustained and engaged back-and-forths on what was proposed, what it meant, what issues were covered, what issues weren't covered, those sorts of things.

Q. And then was it the same for your side and the other sides about the North Korean proposal? I mean, it sounds like the North Korean proposal was really just, you know, you pay them compensation for freeze -- or what you said --

MR. ERELI: I'm not going to get into detailed -- or be able to characterize for you the North Korean ideas. What I can --

Q. Well, without characterizing those ideas, can you characterize what the U.S. thinks of those ideas?

MR. ERELI: I can say that in our discussions throughout the six- party talks, we actively tried to clarify issues, flesh out ideas, and see how we could carry forward in achieving our goal of a comprehensive denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And that included responding to certain North Korean ideas.

Q. The Indonesian hosts of ASEAN are saying that they would expect a six-party foreign ministers' rather informal get-together on the edges of the meeting. I know we've asked about this before, but can you tell us whether that plan has gone forward any further?

MR. ERELI: I'm not aware that anything has been definitively scheduled at this point.

Q. But they're working towards it?

MR. ERELI: I couldn't tell you. I'm just not -- I'm not -- since I'm not with the party, I don't know what latest is on their scheduling and their consideration of possibilities.

Q. You wouldn't be surprised to see one on that?

MR. ERELI: (Chuckles.) I wouldn't be surprised to see it. I wouldn't be surprised not to see it. I'm just not a -- not going to predict.

Q. A senior Chinese military delegation is visiting North Korea right now, and the two sides are expected to sign an agreement to promote military exchange and cooperation on the border patrol. What (are) the U.S. views on this move right after the six-party talks?

MR. ERELI: I don't see them as linked. South Korea has been -- and North Korea have been undertaking a number of steps to -- with regard to their bilateral relationship, and that is as it should be. I don't have any specific comment on this specific initiative.

June 25, 2004
Senior Administration Official
White House background press gaggle
Aboard Air Force One
En route Shannon, Ireland

Q On North Korea, are you worried they're going to actually have a nuclear test, or is that an idol threat, or what?

SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL: Well, it's not the first time that the North Koreans have talked about showing their deterrent. It's not really clear precisely what they said, but it wouldn't be the first time that they've talked about that. Anything the North Koreans do to demonstrate that they are -- that they don't get the message from the other five that they have to denuclearize simply serves to isolate them. And what the United States did in conjunction with others of the five parties is to put forward something that gives the North Koreans a different path. And it would be an extremely odd time, given that they've just been given a different path that they might be able to take to do something of that kind. But, you know, they make those threats from time to time, and it would just serve to further isolate them.

Q You don't seem to be too concerned about it.

SR. ADMIN. OFFICIAL: First of all, I don't know what they will do or what they won't do. But the North Koreans are -- there's no doubt that they're dangerous, there's no doubt that they have been engaged in a program to acquire and perfect nuclear weapons for a couple of decades now. So no one should take this as something that you don't want to take seriously. But they've just been offered, through the six-party talks, a way to end their isolation, which is to agree to a period in which they will prepare to dismantle their nuclear weapons programs. It would, again, be a very odd step to go and have a nuclear test when there is a different path.

June 23, 2004
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan
Press gaggle aboard Air Force One,
En route Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Q On North Korea, can you talk about some of the proposals that you're offering?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as you know, the meetings are getting underway here with the next round of talks. We're still pursuing the multilateral approach through the six-party talks. We have been discussing and working with South Korea and Japan on some ideas that we'll be presenting at these talks. And we will -- what we will be presenting is a practical series of steps to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program. And I think one way to look at this is to look at the Libyan model. A good faith action on North Korea's part would be met with a good faith response by the other parties.

So this is a plan to achieve a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program.

Q Is there any time limit on your offer? ...

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you're talking about when they respond to it?

Q Yes.

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I mean, we'll be presenting this at the six-party talks and we don't expect an immediate response. All parties will go back -- we expect all parties will look at it, they'll go back to their capitals and they'll discuss it. But, you know, this is a plan for moving forward on dismantlement. And what you would have -- first, you would have -- it would have to have North Korea commit to the dismantlement of its nuclear program. And then you would have the parties agree to a detailed implementation plan which would require a supervised disablement of -- disablement, dismantlement, elimination of all nuclear-related facilities and materials, the removal of all nuclear weapons and weapons components, centrifuge and other nuclear parts, fissile material and fuel rods, and a long-term monitoring program.

So there would be a process that would involve a short preparatory period where they would, as part of their effort to dismantle their nuclear program, disable all their nuclear weapons and weapons components, to begin with. And then that would be followed by the permanent and verifiable dismantlement of their nuclear program.

Q And what would North Korea get in return?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we will work to take steps to ease their political and economic isolation. So there would be -- what you would see would be some provisional or temporary proposals that would only lead to lasting benefit after North Korea dismantles its nuclear programs. So there would be some provisional or temporary efforts of that nature.

Q If there's no deadline on when they could accept it, what is the incentive to Kim Jong-il not to avoid the outcome of --

MR. McCLELLAN: We'll see what their response is. Again, all parties are going to have go and look at these ideas and take them back to their capitals and discuss them. And we will see what their response is. But the way to look at this is to look at the Libyan model, so they can recognize that their good faith would be met by the good faith of the other parties in response.

But the first thing that has to happen, they have to commit to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of their nuclear program. So that's the first step.

Q Are you talking cash, energy -- in terms of the short-term help?

MR. McCLELLAN: Non-nuclear energy assistance; and talking about some assurances on the security side, as well.

Q "Non-nuclear" meaning resume oil shipments?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, if -- that's what you're talking about.... I think you're talking about other countries would be.

Q Food? ...

MR. McCLELLAN: Those are the types of things. The way I would describe it as now. I mean, obviously, they'll be talking about these ideas.

June 23, 2004
State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher
Daily Press Briefing

Q ... I was wondering if you would care to add the State Department line to -- well, if there even is one -- to what some people were merrily blabbing about yesterday ahead of -- with your negotiating position going into the six-party talks with Beijing.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think you've seen a statement by Assistant Secretary Kelly in Beijing at the beginning of the talks where he said the United States is determined to do our utmost to advance the solution to the problem. The common goal of the participants is a Korean peninsula that's permanently free of nuclear weapons, and that achievement of that could open the door to a new relationship between the United States and North Korea.

Since these are about denuclearization and complete denuclearization, the United States felt it important to come forward with a proposal, which we have done in Beijing today, on how to achieve that, on how to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the nuclear programs that have caused so much concern.

What we have described in the talks is a practical series of steps to achieve that goal. The process would begin with the North Korean commitment to dismantle all its nuclear programs. Parties would agree to a detailed implementation plan that would require the supervised disabling, dismantlement and elimination of all nuclear- related facilities and materials, the removal of all nuclear weapons and weapons components, centrifuge and other parts, fissile material and fuel rods and long-term monitoring programs. The process would involve a short preparatory period for dismantlement and removal which would include the disabling of nuclear weapons components and key centrifuge parts. The permanent and verifiable dismantlement and removal of North Korea's nuclear programs would follow the brief period.

At the same time, parties would be willing to take steps to ease the political and economic isolation of North Korea. Steps would be provisional or temporary in nature and only yield lasting benefits to the North Koreans after the dismantlement has been completed.

So what we have put forward is a proposal for a series of steps that can achieve the goals that the parties in the talks say they agree on, which is denuclearization, we have put forward in a way that achieves that comprehensively, verifiably and irreversibly, and we have put it forward in a way that can be matched with steps to deal with the issues the North Koreans care about, whether it's their security during the process or things like energy supplies.

Q And how long is the brief period? And then in terms of the provisional rewards or provisional -- I don't know -- inducement or provisional -- you just used "rewards," but you know what I mean -- to North Korea, would that include something, a contribution from the United Sates, such as the kind of security assurances that were talked about at the APEC meeting?

MR. BOUCHER: We have made clear that in the multilateral context that we're dealing with and on a provisional basis, we could try to provide some sort of indication of security guarantees, yeah.

Q But nothing else; just that. And then how long is the brief period?

MR. BOUCHER: We've been talking -- we're working this with other participants. We've worked this very closely with Japan and South Korea. So it's something that we are together on in this, trying to come forward with a very positive proposal, very specific and practical proposal for how to resolve this peacefully.

In terms of the provisional period, the time frame, I just don't have that with me today.

Q Okay. But let me -- the only -- the U.S. component of the provisional rewards is just the security assurances, nothing else? It's not fuel oil or anything like that?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I'm not able to say it quite that categorically. We are working with others in this process, and so there would be benefits in form -- things like heavy-fuel oil provided during the temporary period. But they would only result in lasting benefits, like things to ease diplomatic and political isolation, after dismantlement was completed.

Q But that fuel oil doesn't necessarily come from the United States, that might be the other parties who might do that?

MR. BOUCHER: That's right, it doesn't necessarily come from the United States.

Q Richard, why shouldn't one regard the provision of benefits, rewards, even if temporary in nature, to North Korea prior to its total, complete, irreversible, verifiable dismantlement, as your and your allies paying them for a horse you bought before?

MR. BOUCHER: Because the total, irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapons programs goes beyond what we had before. This is not the agreed framework. This is not a freeze, this is not the agreed framework. The agreed framework was a protracted freeze until a reactor was completed. This is achieving the goal of denuclearization on a practical time frame and in a way that does reverse the problems that have been made -- that have occurred over the past several years, first starting by constraining them, then moving on to dismantling them. But it goes further than that and it reaches a stable denuclearized basis for more positive relations between North Korea and the rest of the world....

Q You guys -- you guys, on January the 7th, 2003, issued a statement after a TCOG meeting, in which you said you ruled out quid pro quos to North Korea. And it's hard for me to see how you haven't completely abandoned that if you're going to give them rewards of any sort on a provisional basis before they have completely dismantled their nuclear program. Why shouldn't -- why am I wrong in that?

MR. BOUCHER: You're wrong in that because we have said that the steps that North Korea has taken -- the abandoning of its commitment, the beginning of a uranium enrichment program, taking nuclear fuel out of the reactor pool, things like that, that we were not going to pay to reverse those things. At the same time, this is not just going back to the agreed framework; this is going much farther than that.

If we do go farther than that, then more benefits accrue.

In terms of the provisional period, as they commit to that goal of denuclearization and move towards that goal of denuclearization -- as I said, first by constraining all their programs and then moving forward -- then, in that period, we, first of all, know that there are countries other than the United States who are prepared to provide some assistance to North Korea in the energy field; and second of all, as the president made clear when he was in Bangkok, that we are prepared over this process to provide some sort of multilateral security guarantee.

Q ... You said we'd be able to provide some kind of security guarantee. You're still only operating --

MR. BOUCHER: No, multilateral.

Q -- multilateral.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, multilateral security guarantee.

Q Which they have rejected before but are now considering, as you understand it?

MR. BOUCHER: Leave it to the North Koreans to consider this. This is a very comprehensive, detailed and practical proposal. It involves steps on both sides, particularly steps by the North Koreans. I would expect them to take some time to consider --

Q That's on both, meaning five on one side and one on the other? You said steps on both sides.

MR. BOUCHER: Steps on all sides.

Q No, steps on the U.S. side, on the North Korean side.

MR. BOUCHER: On the hexagonal sides.

Q One of the, I guess, crucial things in this is whether North Korea has made a strategic decision to dismantle its nuclear program, and I mean, you can offer them things -- you know, continue to offer them things and, you know, I don't know if it's an issue of them continuing to wait to see what they can get. But have you seen any indication of a strategic decision by North Korea, a desire to give up their nuclear program? Or are you just offering them in the hopes that this will be enough to convince them to do it?

MR. BOUCHER: The parties at previous rounds of talks agreed on the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula. We have now put forward a very practical way of achieving that, one that we think takes into account not only the need to do this in a comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible way, but also that takes into account some of the concerns that North Korea has expressed along the way about security, about energy needs. And so we -- with that kind of proposal now on the table, North Korea can make this decision. They should have made it a long time ago. Shall we say, there's no excuse anymore. There's no reason not to. There's a practical proposal for achieving what even they have accepted is the goal of denuclearization. We think this is an opportunity they should take advantage of.

Q Richard, you said two minutes ago that assistance would be provided during this temporary period that you spoke of. What would North Korea have to do to trigger assistance, from not necessarily the U.S. but the other four with which the U.S. is involved in this enterprise?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, as I think I said a little while ago, that it begins with a commitment to dismantle all of its nuclear programs.

Q A verbal commitment?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, it begins with the commitment and the willingness to implement that commitment in various ways. As I've said, you have to -- if you're committed to dismantling all the programs, first thing you have to do is cease operating such programs, and you have to start working on the verification, working on the practical steps to achieve that goal. And that's what we would expect. And I think I described that -- first that commitment but also the need to work out dismantling, implementation procedurals, beginning of removal. And as those steps proceeded, then we would all see that the goal was becoming more and more concrete, and that would then lead to -- that would be able to lead to a series of steps from the other five sides of the hexagon.

Q Right. Another question. Did North Korea talk this morning?

MR. BOUCHER: I think they did.

Q Did they say anything about the uranium program which you --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I don't know if they did. You'd have to ask them, anyway.

Q Can I just go back to the earlier point? You said all the parties agreed denuclearization is the goal. I don't remember the exact wording of all the other statements. But can you honestly say that North Korea has agreed that denuclearization is the goal? Are you saying that the other five parties all agreed that their approach is to try and obtain the --

MR. BOUCHER: If I remember, that was a briefing by the Chinese after one of the previous plenary rounds; that all the parties, including the North Koreans, accepted that goal.

Certainly we're looking for a real commitment on their part and, more important than that, steps that they can take to carry out that commitment. And that's why we've put forward steps that can be taken on both sides.

Q Mr. Kelly is known to have offered bilateral talks with the North Koreans in Beijing regarding those new incentives.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if he's actually had a direct conversation yet with the North Korean delegation.

Q Well, he tried to have a bilateral --

MR. BOUCHER: We've said we've been willing at -- in the six- party contacts, at the multilateral talks, as in almost any other multilateral framework, to have individual meetings with individual delegations. I don't know if he's had a meeting with the North Korean delegation (and not ?) --

Q What he said was, he was -- he offered the bilateral meeting, but the North Koreans rejected it instantly.

MR. BOUCHER: I just don't know.

Q Anyhow, is this offer conceived as a new policy change of the United States? (Off mike.)


Q No?


As I say, we've said -- we've had direct discussions with the North Korean delegation at previous rounds. Those take place in all multilateral meetings, and that's the context of any conversation s we might have.

Q Richard, you said that there was no time limit -- (off mike) -- but how long are you willing to wait? I mean, at what point are you going to say, "Forget it; this isn't going to work"? Or at what point are you willing to --

MR. BOUCHER: We have been very patient. The president has been very clear all along that this goal was to resolve the situation peacefully, but in a manner that the world can have assurance that we will not face a nuclear threat on the peninsula. Therefore, we have consistently pursued that goal that the president's given to us through these six-party talks, and we'll continue to pursue it.

I think the question is not how long will we wait, but when is North Korea going to take the opportunity to move forward. We have shown ourselves consistently willing to move forward. We're now putting a proposal on the table that offers a chance for all of us to move forward in a very practical way. We think that's the value of these talks, and we hope that North Korea will respond.

Q Presumably, Richard, your two closest allies in this endeavor, Japan and the South Koreans, were aware of this proposal beforehand, and --

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, very. It was closely coordinated with them.

Q With those two. Also with the Russians and the Chinese?

MR. BOUCHER: Also with the Chinese, and I'm not quite sure to what extent with the Russians.

Q Okay. Well, are you able to say if they're all on board with the general outline of this, recognizing that the details of what the North Koreans might get in the interim period is still to be decided. But are they on board with --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if I can speak for each and every one of them. But certainly, the depth of coordination with Japan and South Korea indicates that they're with us on this.

Q Okay. And then, what are the chances of a meeting between the secretary and the North Korean foreign minister at the ASEAN meeting in Jakarta?

MR. BOUCHER: Oh, I wouldn't -- I wouldn't speculate on that.

Q Richard, do you expect a response from the North Koreans to your proposal in this round of --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that they will have an immediate response. As I've said, this is a far-reaching proposal, it's one that really does achieve the ends that we've all set out to achieve, which is peaceful denuclearization of the peninsula. It -- given the nature of their delegation and their decision-making process, it may be that they will want to look at this more carefully before they get back to us. Normally, when one party puts forward a very serious proposal like this at any round of talks, there's consultations with capitals. Whether those consultations would complete themselves -- would be completed in time for them to get us a response during this round, we'll just have to see.

Q And could you elaborate on the monitoring that you described as part of this? Would that be international monitoring involving the IAEA, or would that sort of be U.S. -- some other country monitoring?

Q I don't think I can speculate at this point. That's sort of down towards the end of the road, once you're completely and irreversibly eliminated the program -- I mean, make sure it doesn't recur. And that would be the kind of monitoring.

Q You -- I'm sorry. You wouldn't begin monitoring before --

MR. BOUCHER: Oh, no, there's -- well, that was -- that's called verification. Monitoring is ... It's the same thing, I guess, in both cases. But you'd have to have verifiable steps along the way, and therefore some sort of involvement. But who exactly would do it, I don't know....

Q I understand that in his opening statement Mr. Kennedy did not use the word of CVID (complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear programs). Why is that? ...

MR. BOUCHER: ... Everybody knows that's our policy. I've said it I think 12 times today. But, CVID. If it helps, I'll say it again.

Q Actually, you said "total".

MR. BOUCHER: I said "total" once, I said "comprehensive" once. I think it's actually "complete", but -- close enough.

Q So you're dumping "verifiable and irreversible" --

MR. BOUCHER: "Verifiable and irreversible" I've got down pat. It's the "C" that always bugs me.

Q About the sense of urgency of this -- solving this problem, does the U.S. at this point still regard that if you don't solve this -- North Korea's nuclear problem, then they might just go ahead with actual possession or the possession of more nuclear weapons?

MR. BOUCHER: I think whatever decisions North Korea makes, rightly or wrongly, our policy, I think, is clear. We're trying to solve this peacefully. We have gone to talks several times. We have put forward proposals in these talks now to try to achieve the peaceful elimination of the programs under circumstances that allow us to move forward with North Korea, all of us to move forward with North Korea. Any time, energy or money that North Korea spends on nuclear programs is wasted. It's a loss to the North Korean people. It only increases their hardship, and it doesn't get their country any more security, any more prosperity or any more standing in the world. So whatever they decide to do, it's important to remember the United States has put forward some proposals here to try to help resolve the issue.

Q But do you feel that the time is running out on your side?

MR. BOUCHER: We feel that North Korea has some important decisions to make, and decisions about our proposal that we put forward, but also decisions on how they can proceed down a road which would benefit North Korea and benefit North Korean people, rather than continuing down a road that only brings them further hardship and isolation....

June 21, 2004
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
Remarks to the press with
Dr. Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the
International Atomic Energy Agency
Washington, DC

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there have been persistent reports that South Korea and China, at least, would prefer a more flexible approach, whatever that means, to North Korea. And maybe it means some countries should offer, danger some economic benefits, which the U.S. will not do, as far as we know. But can you get into that about -- is there -- is flexibility required? Or is there just a demand that they stop doing what they're doing?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they should stop doing what they are doing. We have always entered these talks with a spirit of flexibility in trying to solve this problem. We've made it clear to the North Koreans what it will take to solve the problem and the benefit that ultimately await for North Korea when the problem is resolved. But the resolution of the problem demands that North Korea fully divulge and fully turn over and fully dismantle, in a way that the whole world can see and there is no question about it, and also to make sure we remove their nuclear program. And the other members of the six-party talks have indicated a willingness to provide some assistance rather quickly.

The United States will want to see performance on the part of the North Koreans, but we will enter these talks as we have entered previous talks, with flexibility and with an attitude of trying to solve this problem, not for the purpose of continuing the problem and not finding a solution.

Source: State Department, Washington File, http://usinfo.state.gov.

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North Korea

DPRK Foreign Ministry Spokesman on Six-Party Talks

Pyongyang, June 28 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry issued the following statement Monday after the close of another round of the six-party talks in Beijing on June 26 after it started from June 23 for the settlement of the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S.: Unlike the previous talks each party advanced various proposals and ways and had a discussion on them in a sincere atmosphere at the talks. Some common elements helpful to making progress in the talks were found there.

This time the U.S. side said that it would take note of the DPRK's proposal for "reward for freeze" and seriously examine it.

An agreement was reached on such issues as taking simultaneous actions on the principle of "words for words" and "action for action" and mainly discussing the issue of "reward for freeze". This was positive progress made at the talks.

The talks, however, could not make a decisive breakthrough towards breaking the present deadlock as there existed big differences between the DPRK and the U.S.

What merits a serious attention is that substantial negotiations could not start among the parties concerned for the settlement of the issue as the DPRK and the U.S. failed to wipe out the bilateral mistrust and misunderstanding.

At the talks the DPRK side advanced once again a bold and flexible proposal which requires a big political decision for making a breakthrough towards breaking the present deadlock between the DPRK and the U.S. over the nuclear issue and making the talks fruitful, prompted by its sincere wish to contribute to peace and security on the Korean peninsula, Northeast Asia and the rest of the world.

The DPRK delegation at the talks clarified details concerning its nuclear freeze on the premise that the U.S. withdraws its demand for CVID. It made it clear that the DPRK would freeze all the facilities related to nuclear weapons and products churned out by their operation, refrain from producing more nukes, transferring and testing them and the freeze would be the first start that would lead to the ultimate dismantlement of the nuclear weapons program.

It also clarified its stand that the nuclear freeze should be accompanied by reward and the period of the freeze would be decided according to whether reward is made or not under any circumstances.

The reward which the DPRK delegation called for should include such issues as the U.S. commitment to the lifting of sanctions and blockade against the DPRK, the energy assistance of 2,000,000kw through the supply of heavy oil and electricity, etc.

The DPRK's proposal for "reward for freeze," the first-phase action for a package solution based on the principle of simultaneous actions, is the only way of seeking a step-by-step solution to the nuclear issue as it took into consideration the present conditions in which there is no confidence between the DPRK and the U.S.

That was why all the parties to the talks except the U.S. positively supported and sympathized with the DPRK's flexible proposal and clarified their stance to participate in making reward for freeze.

The DPRK delegation had exhaustive negotiations with the U.S. side for nearly two and half hours on the sidelines of the talks.

The U.S. side recognized the reward for the freeze and advanced what it called "landmark proposal."

It is noteworthy that the U.S. put forward such proposal nine months after the talks began.

And it was fortunate that the U.S. did not use the expression of CVID but accepted the principle of "words for words" and "action for action" as proposed by the DPRK.

A scrutiny into the U.S. "proposal" suggests that, to our regret, it only mentioned phased demands for disarming the DPRK.

Its real intention was to discuss what it would do only when the DPRK has completed the unilateral dismantlement of its nuclear program.

A particular mention should be made of the fact that in its proposal the U.S. raised the issue of "period of three months' preparations" for dismantling the nuclear program but it could not be supported by anyone as it totally lacked scientific and realistic nature.

As far as the period is concerned, it depends on how the U.S meets the demands for reward.

It is by no means fortuitous that the participants in the talks termed the U.S. "landmark proposal" a complicated and unclear one and an unfair one as it lacked any U.S. commitment to implement the principle of "words for words" and "action for action".

The U.S. "proposal" could not convince the participants in the talks nor could it be considered as a way of settling the issue as it was away from the principle of simultaneous action and based on its demand that the DPRK dismantle its nuclear program first.

If the U.S. seriously studies the DPRK proposal "reward for freeze", drops its unreasonable assertion about an enriched uranium program and the like, commits itself to renounce its hostile policy toward the DPRK according to the principle of "words for words" and "action for action" and directly takes measures for the reward for freeze in the future as its delegation had promised at the talks, this will help solve the nuclear issue and meet its interests.

The DPRK will closely follow the U.S. future attitude, pushing forward as planned the work to increase its capability for self-defence to cope with the threat of aggression from outside forces.

Source: Korean Central News Agency, http://www.kcna.co.jp.

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Remarks by Russian Delegation Head A.Yu. Alexeyev at the Opening Session of the Third Round of Six-Party Talks on the Nuclear Problem on the Korean Peninsula, Beijing, June 23, 2004

I would like to begin by expressing gratitude to our Chinese colleagues for this opportunity to meet again in this hall and for the great amount of preparatory work done by them in the runup to the convocation of this round of talks.

In our view, the negotiating process that was initiated in August last year and the numerous meetings and contacts between negotiators both on a bilateral and on a multilateral basis are gradually yielding fruit. We have come to this round with a clear understanding of the partners' positions. We have reached common understanding of the fact that nuclear weapons should have no place on the Korean Peninsula. At the same time we recognize that the DPRK should be given appropriate guarantees, and also helped with its social and economic development, primarily in the power sector. Finally, the denuclearization process should be verifiable and proceed within the framework of the international law. In addition, we have taken a major step towards the further institutionalization of our talks by establishing a working group, whose early meetings produced results that can be viewed in a quite positive light.

Therefore, all the participants in the negotiating process agree that the goals set out can only be achieved through equal dialogue with mutual respect and regard for the interests and concerns of all the parties. There are a number of indications allowing us to say that, in spite of all the difficulties, the positive dynamics of the talks are obvious, while the chosen targets are correct and meet the interests of all the participants.

The Russian delegation arrived in Beijing with the firm intention to make their constructive contribution to the negotiations and to the finding of mutually acceptable solutions with the aim of the ultimate settlement of the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula. We have a sincere interest in the present round being productive and in the continuation of the six-party process, and we are open for contacts and cooperation with all the participants in the talks.

Source: Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, http://www.russianembassy.org.

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

Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 27, 2004.

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.

Source: Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mofa.jp.

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South Korea

No information was available from the South Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at the time of writing. See documents and analysis from earlier sessions of the Six Party Talks for background information on South Korea.

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© 2003 The Acronym Institute.