BEIJING, September 18 (Itar-Tass) - An informal meeting of diplomats and experts from the six countries participating in talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula (Russia, China, North Korea, the United States, South Korea and Japan) opens on Wednesday in the Chinese capital. It is timed to mark the tenth anniversary of the start of six-partyu talks and the signing of a joint declaration on September 19, 2005.
“This forum is an important step in the search for ways to resume negotiations on the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula,” the head of the Centre for Korean Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Far Eastern Studies told Itar-Tass. “The absence of negotiations creates an extremely negative situation in the settlement of that problem,” Alexander Zhebin said. “We are seeing new outbreaks of tension on the Korean peninsula,” he added, listing two incidents - the one in which North Korea fired at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, and mutual threats to use chemical weapons coming early this year.
“When the negotiating process continues, the sides hope for a compromise and tend to behave more composedly when there is no such process,” he continued. “We can only express regrets that our American and South Korean colleagues from the foreign ministries are not yet ready for such work with Russian, Chinese and North Korean diplomats and scientists,” Zhebin said.
“It is through joint effort that the solution can be found to such a difficult and multidimensional problem as the nuclear one, and on the whole to problems of security and the creation of a new mechanism of peace in that region where the interests of leading world powers collide,” he said.
“Six-way talks have demonstrated that the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the maintenance of peace and stability in the region through consultations meet the common interests of the sides,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said ahead of the forum. This is an important mechanism for improving relations, he added.
Six-party talks began in August 2003. The passing of a joint statement in September 2005, in which North Korea assumed commitments to gradually give up its nuclear program in response to guarantees of security and economic aid, was their major achievement.
However, in April 2009 Pyongyang announced its withdrawal from the process of negotiations in response to sanctions of the UN Security Council following North Korea’s launch of a long-range missile and a second nuclear test.