Talking about Six-Party Talking, Once Again

Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth arrived in South Korea yesterday evening. In both South Korea and the U.S., discussions about resuming the Six-Party Talks have been activated, with both parties still speaking of the need for a sincere North Korean attitude.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) stated again in a briefing this morning that, as a precondition of the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, “North Korea must be prepared to implement its international obligations according to UN Security Council Resolutions and the September 19 Joint Statement, through which it is essential to show its sincere attitude with respect to denuclearization.”

In yesterday’s daily briefing by the U.S. Department of State, spokesperson Philip Crowley also said something similar, namely, “We do want to see specific things from North Korea, including a reduction of tension between North and South, an end to provocations, and a seriousness of purpose with respect to its 2005 obligations under the joint statement.”

And, he went on to assert again, “We don’t just want to have talks for talks’ sake,” adding, “We are open to dialogue with North Korea, but as we’ve said many times, we have to be sure that that dialogue would be constructive.”

Upon arriving at the Incheon Airport yesterday, Bosworth himself told reporters, “We believe that serious negotiations must be at the heart of any strategy for dealing with North Korea, and we look forward to being able to launch those at a reasonably early time.”

Regarding the Bosworth comments about resuming the Six-Party Talks, the spokesperson for MOFAT agreed, saying, “In terms of a mechanism for dealing with North Korea’s denuclearization, the Six-Party Talks are the only one, and the related countries agree with the utility of the Six-Party Talks thus far.”

He stated, “In order to open the Six-Party Talks, the six related countries should make an agreement,” and went on, “Once they are resumed based on (North Korea’s sincerity and the six countries’ agreement), I believe smooth and significant progress can be achieved.”

So as to derive useful function from the talks, he noted that, “With the understanding that achieving North Korea’s denuclearization should happen through constant negotiations between related countries, several diplomatic moves have been planned this year,”

Regarding the cooperation of these five countries, the U.S. Department of State spokesperson also explained that “both during the Secretary’s discussion with Foreign Minister Yang tomorrow as well as the President’s visit later this month… North Korea will be a topic of discussion.”

On this, the MOFAT spokesperson anticipated, “The North Korea problem will be one of the important agenda items,” when Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Washington D.C. in mid January.

With respect to the stance of China, he went on, “Our government as well as the U.S. has been closely communicating and negotiating with China regarding the stability of this region. China has its own interests and understanding, even though we share the basic goal with China.”