Korea: Delegates prepare for negotiations

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Graphic from the Geological Survey showing seismic activity at the time of the test

The envoys of the United States, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea have reached Beijing. They will hold a meeting to negotiate over the North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

The US State Department has said that a meeting between Christopher Hill, US negotiator, and DPRK's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan was an “open possibility”.

The top North Korean envoy, Kim Kye Gwan, had indicated that the initiative for negotiations should be taken by the United States and that the DPRK was ready to negotiate at any time. He said that DPTK was in a “dignified position” as it had demonstrated through its nuclear test that it could defend itself against sanctions and other pressures.

Any meetings between the envoys will be informal and, according to the Chun Yung-woo the South Korean envoy, will concentrate on preparing the ground for negotiations and will not address the issues directly.

Christopher Hill said "The issue for us is to make sure we are extremely well-planned and ready for the six-party talks, which we do anticipate will get going at some point very soon,"

The negotiations are expected to discuss such matters as US economic sanctions against DRPK, the recent underground nuclear test in North Korea and the development of long range ballistic missiles by the DPRK.