|Time and Place||July 10~12, 2008 in Beijing, China|
The six parties agreed to disable North Korea’s nuclear facilities and complete the delivery of energy assistance to the North by the end of October, as well as establish a mechanism to verify the North’s nuclear declaration. The verification will involve on-site visits, document review and interviews with North Korean technicians. They also agreed to build a monitoring system consisting of the heads of the nuclear delegations from the six countries. In addition, the parties agreed to hold a six-party ministerial meeting and a multi-party forum to discuss security in Northeast Asia at an appropriate time. At the end of the three-day meetings, Wu Dawei, nuclear envoy of host country China, announced a press communiqué consisting of a prefatory note and six different agreements.
Establishment of Nuclear Verification and Monitoring Systems
The parties agreed to
· establish a verification mechanism consisting of experts of the six countries;
· take three verification measures—on-site visits, review of documents and interviews with technical personnel;
· and establish a monitoring mechanism consisting of the heads of delegation of the six parties.
Provision of Economic, Energy Assistance
The parties agreed that
· The other five parties, except North Korea, will complete the provision of heavy fuel oil and non-HFO assistance to the North by the end of October, 2008.
· North Korea will work to complete disabling its nuclear facilities by the end of October, 2008.
The parties agreed to
· continue to discuss the guiding principles of peace and security in Northeast Asia;
· hold the six-party ministerial meeting;
· and continue to advance the process of the six-party talks in a comprehensive manner.
< Press Communiqué of the Heads of Delegation Meeting of the Six Round of the Six-Party Talks >
Beijing, 12 July, 2008
The Heads of Delegation Meeting 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 10 to 12 July 2008.
Mr. Wu Dawei, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC; Mr. Kim Gye Gwan, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK; Mr. Saiki Akitaka, Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Mr. Kim Sook, Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Mr. Alexei Borodavkin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; and Mr. Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the State Department of the United States attended the talks as heads of their respective delegations.
Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei chaired the meeting.
The Parties spoke highly of the positive progress made in the second-phase actions for the implementation of the Joint Statement and agreed unanimously that the progress contributes to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The Parties reached important consensus on the full and balanced implementation of the second-phase actions.
Ⅰ. In accordance with the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks adopted on 19 September 2005, the six parties agreed to establish a verification mechanism within the Six-Party Talks framework to verify the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The verification mechanism consists of experts of the six parties and is responsible to the Working Group on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The verification measures of the verification mechanism include visits to facilities, review of documents, interviews with technical personnel and other measures unanimously agreed upon among the six parties. When necessary, the verification mechanism can welcome the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to provide consultancy and assistance for relevant verification.
The specific plans and implementation of the verification will be decided by the Working Group on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in line with the principle of consensus.
Ⅱ. The six parties agreed to establish a monitoring mechanism within the Six-Party Talks framework. The monitoring mechanism consists of the heads of delegation of the six parties.
The mission of the monitoring mechanism is to ensure that all parties honor and fulfill their respective commitments made within the Six-Party Talks framework, including non-proliferation and economic and energy assistance to the DPRK. The monitoring mechanism will carry out its responsibilities in ways considered effective by the six parties. The heads of delegation of the six parties can authorize appropriate officials to carry out their responsibilities.
Ⅲ. The Parties formulated a timetable for economic and energy assistance along with disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities. Disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities by the DPRK and the remaining heavy fuel oil (HFO) and non-HFO assistance to the DPRK by other parties will be fully implemented in parallel. All parties will work to complete their HFO and non-HFO assistance to the DPRK by the end of October 2008.
The United States and Russia will work to complete the provision of their remaining share of HFO assistance to the DPRK by the end of October 2008. China and the ROK will work to sign with the DPRK binding agreements for the provision of their remaining share of non-HFO assistance by the end of August 2008. Japan expressed its willingness to take part in the economic and energy assistance to the DPRK as soon as possible when the environment is in place. The DPRK will work to complete the disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities by the end of October 2008.
Ⅳ. The Parties agreed to continue with their discussions on the "Guiding Principles of Peace and Security in Northeast Asia".
Ⅴ. The Parties reiterated that the Six-Party Ministerial Meeting will be held in Beijing at an appropriate time.
Ⅵ. The Parties had a preliminary exchange of views on the third-phase actions for the implementation of the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005. The Parties agreed to continue to advance the Six-Party Talks process in a comprehensive manner and work together for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
Course of the Talks
- Background for the Talks
Negotiators managed to produce the October 3rd agreement during the second session of the sixth round of the six-party talks in 2007. But they failed to implement the agreement, and the multilateral talks remained locked in stalemate. Under the October deal, North Korea was to complete disabling its nuclear facilities and declaring its nuclear programs by the end of 2007 in return for economic and energy assistance, including the provision of heavy fuel oil. But North Korea and the U.S. clashed over nuclear declaration. The U.S. insisted on the ‘complete and precise’ declaration of the North’s past nuclear activities, while the North rejected it. The U.S. demanded that the declaration list include North’s alleged uranium enrichment program, but North Korea refused to budge an inch, arguing that it can’t admit what doesn’t really exist. The two sides locked horns over nuclear declaration, and later, verification of the declared nuclear programs, protracting the six-party talks further. Following the solution of this matter, the chief negotiators’ meeting finally took place again.
- Singapore Deal between North Korea and U.S.
To hammer out the issue of nuclear declaration, North Korea and the U.S. held talks in Singapore in April of 2008 and eventually reached a compromise. Under the deal, the programs involving plutonium, enriched uranium and nuclear proliferation can be declared separately. Accordingly, North Korea submitted a declaration list of its past nuclear activities to China in June of 2008.
- Nuclear Verification
Following North Korea’s submission of a nuclear inventory, negotiators began to discuss how to verify the declared nuclear programs. South Korea and the U.S. insisted on a ‘thorough verification’ to guarantee
△ impromptu access to nuclear sites and collection of samples, and
△ interviews with North Korean scientists
North Korea and the U.S., and the other participants of the six-way talks, began to fine-tune their respective views on this matter.
- Chief Negotiators’ Meeting and Bilateral Coordination between Pyongyang and Washington
On July 8 and 9, right before the talks, North Korea and the U.S. made brisk contacts to coordinate their opinions. Pyongyang reportedly accepted Washington’s proposal that North Korea establish a verification protocol and began the verification process before the U.S. measure to remove the North from the terrorism list takes effect on August 11.
- Adoption of Press Communiqué
The parties were able to thrash out some of the main sticking points. Under the deal, the verification mechanism will include visits to nuclear facilities, a review of documents and interviews with technical personnel. Concerning the thorny matters that were hard to be agreed upon, the parties used the expression, “verification will include other measures unanimously agreed upon among the six parties.” China’s Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei issued a press communiqué consisting of a prefatory note and six different agreements on July 12.
Key Issues and Results
Negotiators focused on their key task of ‘nuclear verification.’ They agreed on specific measures to verify the North’s nuclear declaration and finalized a roadmap for the North’s nuclear disablement and compensational aid packages.
- Verification of North Korea’s Nuclear Declaration The verification mechanism will comprise experts of the six parties. It will include visits to facilities, a review of documents and interviews with technical personnel. Regarding other verification-related issues, the parties will take measures unanimously agreed upon among them. The agreement also paved the way for the International Atomic Energy Agency to participate in the verification process, as seen in the expression, “The verification mechanism welcomes the IAEA to provide consultancy and support for relevant verification.”
- Roadmap for Implementation of Agreements The parties agreed on the timeframe in which North Korea’s nuclear disablement and the provision of economic and energy assistance will be completed by the end of October, 2008. It is notable that Japan, which has refused to provide aid to North Korea, also expressed its will to participate in the assistance, even though it added the proviso, ‘when conditions are met.’
The parties are believed to have produced a substantial outcome, since they were able to find a breakthrough for nuclear verification, the biggest stumbling block in the negotiations. As a result, the six-party talks and the efforts toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula got back on track. But the negotiators failed to iron out their differing views on some parts of verification. The sensitive matters were left undecided, and they may stir controversy in the process of implementing the agreements. For example, the negotiators still remain divided on whether or not equipment for verification will be allowed to enter North Korea and how long the period of prior notice of on-site visits will last. They decided to deal with these matters in the context of “other measures unanimously agreed upon among the six parties.” Some experts point out this vague stipulation may spawn problems in future negotiations. If they develop different interpretations on ‘other measures,’ North Korea’s nuclear disablement and the reciprocal assistance, which are rooted in the agreement on nuclear verification, could face setbacks at any time.