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Six-Party Talks

2nd Round Talks


Time and Place Feb. 25~28, 2004 (Beijing, China)
  • Lee Soo-hyuk Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Kim Gye-gwan Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • James Kelly Assistant State Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
  • Wang Yi Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Yabunaka Mitoji Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau
  • Alexander Losyukov Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs


  • Announcement of a 'Chairman's Statement' of seven articles, the first 'letter of agreement' produced by the six-party talks

- Chairman's Statement - Agreement on 'Denuclearization of the Peninsula' and 'Peaceful Coexistence of Participating States' / stresses the use of 'mutually coordinated measures' to resolve the crisis

- Agreement to retain the momentum of the talks by holding the 3rd round of talks with full participation during the second quarter of 2004 / agreement to organize a working group meeting to prepare for the 3rd round of talks

Main Issues

North Korea - stresses that the U.S. abandon its 'hostile policies'

  • As in the 1st round, North Korea continues to claim that any agreement or pledge by the U.S. would be meaningless unless it abandons its 'hostile policies'.
    - Requests 'U.S.-NK non-aggression treaty', 'acknowledgement of North Korea sovereignty', 'normalization of U.S.-DRPK relations', and 'lifting of economic sanctions' as evidence that the U.S. has abandoned hostile policies
  • DRPK focus on: 1) ascertaining U.S. willingness to back up its non-aggression intentions and ensure the DRPK regime's security in the form of official documents and 2) confirming the specific concessions the U.S. would be prepared to make upon North Korea's pledge to abandon its nuclear program.
  • Some analysts interpret these principles as a conciliatory gesture by North Korea in that it expressed 'an actual willingness' to give up its program.

U.S. - demands CVID of HEU (highly-enriched uranium) program as well as nuclear materials/ facilities for peaceful use

  • The U.S. responds affirmatively to North Korea request concerning regime security, raising the possibility of a future working group meeting to discuss that end.
  • However, it also expands the previous CVID objectives to include not only the plutonium-based nuclear weapons program but also the alleged HEU nuclear weapons program and nuclear materials/ facilities for peaceful use.

U.S.-NK - failure to arrive at agreement

  • North Korea denies possession of HEU
  • North Korea is in a difficult position to abandon the peaceful use of nuclear energy (i.e., power generation) owing to its economic depression and limited capacity to meet electricity demands
  • Failure to reach working-level agreements due to continued U.S.-NK disagreement on the scope of CVID objectives

South Korea - proposes 3-stage process to resolve Crisis

  • South Korea proposes a 3-stage process within a cooperative framework between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, which would later form the basis of future six-party talks.
  • South Korea also demonstrates initiative by presenting energy-aid plans for North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear program, receiving support from China/Russia and consent from the U.S. and Japan.
3+3+3 Stage Process' Proposed by South Korea
1st Stage
Words for Words
South Korea·US·Japan Joint South Korea/U.S./Japan announcement on ensuring North Korea regime security
North Korea Announcement on abandoning nuclear program
2nd Stage
Actions for Actions
South Korea·US·Japan

Mutually coordinated measures by the three parties Pursuing regime security and normalization of relations

3 Steps of ensuring regime security
North Korea South Korea·US·Japan
Expression of willingness to abandon program Expression of willingness to ensure regime security
Starts dismantling Provisional assurance
Finishes dismantling Finalized assurance
North Korea

Freezing and dismantling of nuclear program

3 Conditions for CVID

1)Dismantling must take place as promptly as possible
2)North Korea must accept inspections by the international community
3)All forms of nuclear facilities/ materials, including HEU, must be subject to CVID

3rd Stage
South Korea·US·Japan Establishment of Peace on the Peninsula
(including the resolution of matters such as terrorist, human rights, and missiles issues)
North Korea Resolution of Crisis


Progress in working-level discussions / introduction of an institutional device to continue the six-party talks

  • Intensive and concrete negotiations on the requirements and concessions for each stage of the 3-stage process / improved working-level efforts by the U.S. and North Korea (in comparison with the 1st round)
  • General agreement to hold 3rd round of talks / agreement to introduce an institutional device (i.e., practical group meetings) to ensure the permanent continuation of the talks

New North Korea Foreign Vice-Minister Kim Gye-gwan negotiates with a more flexible stance

  • North Korea replaces the head of its delegation to the 2nd round of talks with a higher-ranking Vice-Minister, Kim Gye-gwan, who participates in the negotiations with an 'anything is negotiable' attitude.

U.S. - distrust toward North Korea, maintains fundamental position

  • The U.S. continues to state that all North Korea issues, including its nuclear program, missiles, conventional weapons, biological/ chemical weapons, and human rights violations, must be resolved before any moves to normalize U.S.-NK relations.
    ※ The U.S. repeatedly stresses that the occasions of bilateral U.S.-NK contact during the talks were 'unofficial contacts, not negotiations'.

Differences in opinion persist between a ‘desperate North Korea’ and 'fundamentalist U.S.‘

  • During revisions to the final draft of the 2nd round's Statement, North Korea replaces "a closer understanding of the other's position" with "some differences, that may be adjusted later on" in order to clearly stress the unacceptability of key U.S. demands (scope of CVID, etc.).

1st & 2nd Working Group Meetings

1st & 2nd Working Group Meetings
1st Working Group Meeting 2nd Working Group Meeting
Time and place: May 12~14, 2004 (Beijing, China) Time and place: June 21~22, 2004 (Beijing, China)
The U.S. states willingness to provide "a broad array of concessions including North Korea's declassification as a terror-sponsoring state, on the condition that North Korea completely gives up its nuclear program"; North Korea retorts that "the CVID objectives demanded by the U.S. are humiliating and fit only for nations that have lost a war". The U.S. maintains that the "North Korea's acknowledgement of its possession of HEU is the first step to resolving the crisis', while North Korea takes a more flexible stance by expressing the willingness to accept 'freezing the program in a verifiable manner' as a first step of the CVID process.