The Guardian 28 September, 2005

Korean talks and media distortions

At the conclusion of the six-party talks in Beijng on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsular and other matters, a six-point statement was issued. The statement by representatives of China, Russia, the US, Japan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK — North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (ROK — South Korea) included a commitment of all taking part to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsular. A commitment was also made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) that it would abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and return at an early date to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards. The DPRK stated that it has the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss, at an appropriate time, the subject of the provision of light water reactor to the DPRK. There was no agreement that the provision of light water reactors by the US would occur either before or after the abandonment of nuclear weapons by the DPRK. This is a matter for future talks.

Unfortunately, immediately after the conclusion of the talks the Western media, including the Australian press, launched a vicious campaign claiming that the DPRK had gone back on its commitments but this is not borne out by the contents of the six-party statement.

For its part the South Korea reaffirmed its commitment not to receive or deploy nuclear weapons and that no nuclear weapons exist within its territory.

The DPRK and the United States undertook to respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together, and take steps to normalise their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies.

The six parties undertook to promote economic cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and investment, bilaterally and/or multilaterally.

China, Japan, ROK, Russia and the US stated their willingness to provide energy assistance to the DPRK. The ROK reaffirmed its proposal of July 12, 2005 concerning the provision of two million kilowatts of electric power to the DPRK.

The parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula at an appropriate separate forum. No peace agreement has been signed with the DPRK since the conclusion of the 1950s Korean war.

A fifth round of the talks is to take place in Beijing in early November 2005 at a date to be determined through consultations.

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