Some Hope For North Korea

Some Hope For North Korea — Well, Maybe – N. Korea signals talks willingness – Dec. 27, 2003
The second round of talks were supposed to happen in December but have evidently been delayed. The fact that they are even happening in the manner we demanded — six-way talks that include the most significant stakeholders — is a surprise in and of itself. China, North Korea’s only “friend” on the planet, told the DPRK they should accept whatever type of talks we suggested. The DPRK went along.

North Korea is scared of us — hence their demand for a nonaggression pact — but we don’t have a lot of pull with them aside from the threat of force. It seems to me that China is the best hope for ending the DPRK’s nuclear program peacefully.

North Korea has confirmed that it is willing to hold talks with the United States and five other nations early next year on ending its nuclear weapons program.

China’s top diplomat on the Korean nuclear issue, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, met North Korean leaders in Pyongyang during a three-day trip that ended Saturday, an unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the North’s official news agency, KCNA.

KCNA said both sides agreed to set up a second round of the six-nation negotiations.

“Both sides … expressed their willingness to make appropriate preparations so that talks can resume at an early date next year to continue the process for a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue,” KCNA quoted the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

KCNA was monitored by South Korea’s national Yonhap news agency.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency carried a similar report on Friday.

The United States, China, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas held a first round of talks on North Korea’s nuclear development in Beijing in August. The meetings ended without much progress or an agreement on a date for new talks.

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