The South Korean government welcomed the North Korea's decision to return to the Six-Party Talks and resume negotiations on the week of July 25, 2005.
South Korea's Foreign Ministry welcomed North Korea’s formal statement that it will return to the Six-party talks and resume negotiations from the 25 of this month in Beijing.
The official statement released by the ministry relates: “The participating parties of the Six-Party Talks have undertaken constructive diplomatic efforts for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the ROK government has played an active role in this process. We believe that the resumption of the Six-Party Talks is the fruition of such efforts.”
The issue of greatest concern to the United States was also directly addressed. The statement calls for talks that included “serious and substantial negotiations to achieve real progress for the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.” For its part, the South Korean government pledged to “actively and strenuously undertake the due role as the most directly concerned party to the North Korean nuclear issue.”
South Korea made this statement in response to North Korea's announcement that it intends to return the Six-party talks. North Korea's Foreign Ministry clarified that Pyongyang's purpose in the six-party talks later this month is to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, according to a report of Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday.
During a meeting in Beijing Saturday North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan officially told U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill that Pyongyang will return to the talks. This was the first such meeting ever between the two primary diplomatic representatives of the two states at the Six-party talks.
"The U.S. side clarified its official stand to recognize DPRK as a sovereign state, not to invade it and hold bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party talks," the KCNA reported on Saturday.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the official name of North Korea.
"The DPRK side interpreted the U.S. side's expression of its stand as a retraction of its remark designating the former as an 'outpost of tyranny' and decided to return to the six-party talks," the KCNA statement explained. The US State department has not denied this interpretation of the controversial statement by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. According to Reuters, a high-ranking U.S. official accompanying Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a tour of the region said Sunday the agreement meant Pyongyang would no longer call for mutual nuclear disarmament talks, while the U.S. would no longer insist that North Korea admits it has a highly enriched uranium program. Rice is visiting Beijing where she met with Chinese officials to discuss North Korea.
Song Min-soon, South Korean deputy foreign minister, expressed hope that substantial progress could be made at the envisioned six-party talks at a news conference in Seoul on Sunday. He welcomed North Korea's decision to return to the nuclear dialogue, declaring it the "fruit of the efforts" of all countries involved.
All participants will decide the exact schedule of the talks after a set of working-group negotiations.
China has hosted three rounds of inconclusive talks in which Russia and Japan have also participated since 2003. After the third round of talks in June last year, North Korea boycotted the multilateral forum, citing what it called Washington's "hostile" policies toward it.