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6th Round (Stage 2) Talks

Outline

Outline
Time and Place September 27~30, 2007 in Beijing, China
Representatives
  • Chun Yung-woo
    Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs
  • Kim Gye-gwan
    Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Christopher Hill
    Assistant State Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Wu Dawei
    Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Kenichiro Sasae
    Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Alexander Losyukov
    Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Results

Expectations had been high for this round of negotiations, which were held after the chief negotiators’ talks and the five working-group meetings in previous months. At the same time, it had been widely anticipated that the talks would be challenging, since the negotiators were supposed to reach agreements on specific measures aimed at implementing the second-phase denuclearization actions and their timeframe. They were eventually able to work out a roadmap for the second denuclearization stage, taking a step toward the goal of resolving the nuclear issue within the six-party dialogue frame.

Agreements

· North Korea will complete disabling its nuclear facilities by December 31, 2007.
· North Korea will declare its nuclear programs by December 31, 2007.
· North Korea reaffirmed its promise not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or know-how.
· North Korea and the U.S. will remain committed to the normalization of relations. (The U.S. will start the process of taking North Korea off the list of state sponsors of terrorism.)
· North Korea and the U.S. will make effort to normalize their diplomatic relations.
· North Korea will be provided with economic, energy and humanitarian assistance, in accordance with the February 13th deal.
· The parties will hold a six-party ministerial meeting.

< Second-Phase Actions for Implementation of the Joint Statement >

3 October 2007

The Second Session of the Sixth Round of the Six-Party Talks was held in Beijing among the People's Republic of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States of America from 27 to 30 September 2007.

Mr. Wu Dawei, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC; Mr. Kim Gye Gwan, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK; Mr. Kenichiro Sasae, Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Mr. Chun Yung-woo, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Mr. Alexander Losyukov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; and Mr. Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Department of State of the United States attended the talks as heads of their respective delegations.

Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei chaired the talks.

The Parties listened to and endorsed the reports of the five Working Groups, confirmed the implementation of the initial actions provided for in the February 13 agreement, agreed to push forward the Six-Party Talks process in accordance with the consensus reached at the meetings of the Working Groups and reached agreement on second-phase actions for the implementation of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005, the goal of which is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

Ⅰ. On Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

1. The DPRK agreed to disable all existing nuclear facilities subject to abandonment under the September 2005 Joint Statement and the February 13 agreement. The disablement of the 5 megawatt Experimental Reactor at Yongbyon, the Reprocessing Plant (Radiochemical Laboratory) at Yongbyon and the Nuclear Fuel Rod Fabrication Facility at Yongbyon will be completed by 31 December 2007. Specific measures recommended by the expert group will be adopted by heads of delegation in line with the principles of being acceptable to all Parties, scientific, safe, verifiable, and consistent with international standards. At the request of the other Parties, the United States will lead disablement activities and provide the initial funding for those activities. As a first step, the US side will lead the expert group to the DPRK within the next two weeks to prepare for disablement.
2. The DPRK agreed to provide a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs in accordance with the February 13 agreement by 31 December 2007.
3. The DPRK reaffirmed its commitment not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or know-how.

Ⅱ. On Normalization of Relations between Relevant Countries

1. The DPRK and the United States remain committed to improving their bilateral relations and moving towards a full diplomatic relationship. The two sides will increase bilateral exchanges and enhance mutual trust. Recalling the commitments to begin the process of removing the designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism and advance the process of terminating the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act with respect to the DPRK, the United States will fulfill its commitments to the DPRK in parallel with the DPRK's actions based on consensus reached at the meetings of the Working Group on Normalization of DPRK-U.S. Relations.
2. The DPRK and Japan will make sincere efforts to normalize their relations expeditiously in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the settlement of the unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern. The DPRK and Japan committed themselves to taking specific actions toward this end through intensive consultations between them.

Ⅲ. On Economic and Energy Assistance to the DPRK

In accordance with the February 13 agreement, economic, energy and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent of one million tons of HFO (inclusive of the 100,000 tons of HFO already delivered) will be provided to the DPRK. Specific modalities will be finalized through discussion by the Working Group on Economy and Energy Cooperation.

Ⅳ. On the Six-Party Ministerial Meeting

The Parties reiterated that the Six-Party Ministerial Meeting will be held in Beijing at an appropriate time. The Parties agreed to hold a heads of delegation meeting prior to the Ministerial Meeting to discuss the agenda for the Meeting.

Course of the Talks

It is worth mentioning that the six-party talks finally got back on track. The first session of the sixth-round of the talks got bogged down in March, 2007, because North Korea boycotted the talks, citing the failure of the transfer of its funds at Banco Delta Asia in Macau.

  • Chief Negotiators’ Meeting
    Chief negotiators coordinated agreements reached at their previous Beijing meeting in July and then convened the second session of the sixth round of six-way talks in September. Expectations were running high even before the talks began.
  • Working-Group Meetings
    In line with the agreements made at the chief negotiators’ meeting in July, five working-group meetings were held to fine-tune details about the second denuclearization step. The five working groups were established to deal with denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, normalization of ties between North Korea and the U.S., normalization of North Korea-Japan relations, economic and energy cooperation, and Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism.
  • Roadmap for Second Denuclearization Step Based on the results of the working-group meetings, the participants coordinated their opinions and reached a detailed agreement or roadmap for second-step measures to implement the September 19th joint statement.
  • October 3rd Agreement
    The parties began to draft their agreements. After the negotiations ended, China, which chaired the talks, worked out the draft and circulated it among the other parties. After some coordination of views, the agreement was announced.

Key Issues and Results

  • Key Issues
    The biggest task was to decide on the specific format, scope and timeline of North Korea’s nuclear disablement and declaration—the two key measures comprising the second denuclearization step. Another major issue was to how to carry out corresponding measures, such as the provision of economic, energy and humanitarian aid to North Korea, the removal of the North from Washington’s terrorism blacklist and the exclusion of the communist nation from the application to the Trading with the Enemy Act.
  • Nuclear Disablement
    Negotiators had to decide on the scope, method and deadline for disabling North Korea’s nuclear facilities.

    ◆ Facilities Subject to Disablement
    The 5-megawatt experimental reactor in Yongbyon, the reprocessing plant (radiochemical lab), and the nuclear fuel rod fabrication facility
    ◆ Deadline:
    December 31, 2007
    ◆ Detailed Methods :
    Chief negotiators decided on specific methods, under the principle that the disablement should be acceptable to all parties concerned, scientific, safe, verifiable and consistent with international standards.
    ◆ Who will Lead Disablement Activities :
    The United States will lead the disablement activities and provide necessary funds in the initial stage.
    ◆ North Korea Visit by Experts’ Group :
    A group of nuclear experts, led by the U.S., will visit North Korea within the next two weeks.
  • Nuclear Declaration
    To resolve the tricky and complicated issue of declaring North Korea’s nuclear programs, the parties agreed to establish the principle of
    - a complete and
    - precise declaration and the deadline set for the declaration is
    - and the deadline set for the declaration is December 31, 2007

    But the parties will still have to work on more detailed measures, such as the scope and methods of declaring the North’s nuclear programs.
  • Nuclear Proliferation
    The U.S. harbors suspicion about North Korea’s nuclear proliferation activities, which the North denies. It was very difficult for the two sides to near an agreement on this issue. As a result, the joint statement included a rather vague expression, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea reaffirmed its commitment not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or know-how.” This issue, therefore, may come to surface again anytime.
  • Removal of North Korea from Washington’s Terrorism Blacklist
    North Korea regards this matter as the most important condition for giving up its nuclear ambition. On the other hand, the U.S. will never give in to the North’s demands on this issue, since it means that Washington will lose important leverage over Pyongyang. The negotiators agreed to use the expression, “The U.S. will ‘begin’ the process of removing the designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism.” It leaves open the possibility that this measure may be linked to developments in future negotiations, such as progress in nuclear disablement and declaration.

Assessment

It is significant that negotiators were able to devise a detailed and pragmatic roadmap for entering the denuclearization step toward ending the North Korean nuclear crisis. North Korea shut down its nuclear-related facilities as the first-step measure and delayed making additional decisions. In the second stage, in contrast, the North will actually set foot on the denuclearization phase by disabling its nuclear facilities and declaring its nuclear inventory. Consequently, the negotiators face myriads of sensitive and tricky problems.

The results of this round of the talks aren’t entirely satisfactory, but the detailed roadmap merits praise. It spells out specific actions to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear programs and corresponding incentives the North will receive in return as well.

The joint statement includes the specific deadline for nuclear disablement and declaration, set for the end of 2007, reflecting the parties’ will to give impetus to the roadmap.

A group of nuclear experts will have to visit the nuclear sites in North Korea and consult with North Korean scientists to deal with technical problems of nuclear disablement. Nuclear declaration, on the other hand, may emerge as a point of contention in the future, just like the banking dispute over North Korea’s accounts at BDA, since the negotiators postponed discussing detailed declaration measures until North Korea and the U.S. hold additional negotiations.

Nevertheless, the second session of the sixth round of the six-party talks and the October 3rd nuclear agreement are considered watershed moments for the resolution of the nuclear issue.

Prospects and Tasks

The nuclear issue is progressing rapidly, thanks to the October 3rd agreement. Involved countries will now be able to enter the ‘action’ stage. But history shows that unexpected setbacks may arise at any time when negotiating with North Korea, just like the BDA financial row. It is another important task to eliminate potential stumbling blocks that may deter future negotiations.

  • Scope of Nuclear Disablement
    The agreement enumerates nuclear facilities to be disabled in a comprehensive way, but a group of experts will have to decide on more details, such as particular equipment, parts and facilities and the ways to disable them. In the course of doing so, a clash between differing views may crop up at any time.
  • Declaration of Nuclear Programs
    North Korea and the U.S. are expected to engage in a fierce tug-of-war over the North’s nuclear declaration, the most complicated and tortuous issue.
  • Removal of North Korea from Terrorism List
    The removal of North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism is related to the North’s nuclear disablement and declaration. The provision of economic, energy and humanitarian assistance to North Korea will relatively be easy.