Nobutaka Machimura
Tuesday, 27 September 2005

The fourth round of Six-Party Talks concludes in Beijing on 19 September 2005 with a six-point joint statement summarizing the principles on which future negotiations will be based. CanKor reproduces the statement as released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.

Heated debate within the Bush administration and last-minute pressures from China precede the US signature to the agreed statement, which marks a significant concession to the DPRK, accepting the principle of "commitment for commitment, action for action," which has been pursued by the DPRK for the past 3 years. What is left uncomfortably open is the timing of nuclear disarmament, with the DPRK insisting that it should receive a light-water reactor before dismantling its nuclear weapons programme, and the USA saying the only appropriate time to discuss civilian nuclear power is well after the dismantling of all nuclear facilities under highly intrusive inspections.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura announces that the DPRK and Japan will resume bilateral talks to broach “outstanding issues,” taken to mean the controversial abductions of Japanese citizens and the DPRK’s missiles.

The UK-based agency Fitch Ratings considers raising the credit rating on ROK following the Six-Party Joint Statement. The ROK Ministry of Finance welcomes this news, claiming that both Standard and Poor (S&P) and Moody’s Investors Service are likely to follow suit, as they have previously cited the DPRK’s nuclear brinkmanship as the biggest risk to the Korean Peninsula.

DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon meets with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York, requesting the UN to cease food aid shipments by the end of this year, in favour of long-term development assistance. The DPRK also wishes foreign NGO aid workers to leave the country, and accuses the USA of politicizing humanitarian assistance by linking it to the human rights issue. UN relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland urges the DPRK to reverse this decision, worrying that the abruptness of the cut-off will harm the country’s children.

A letter received by CanKor directly from the DPRK Permanent Mission to the United Nations headquarters in New York promotes the DPRK’s reunification formula, namely the creation of a “confederal republic” of Korea, which operates on the principle of “one nation, one state, two systems, two governments”. The letter, authored by the Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World’s People and sent to supporters worldwide, points to the “miraculous changes” that have occurred in the past several years, such as the reconnection of severed railways and roadways, demonstrating that coexistence of different systems and ideas is possible. Reunification under this formula would stabilize the security of the entire north-east Asian region, claims the letter.


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US State Department Press Release, 19 September 2005

Following is a text of the joint statement at the conclusion of the fourth round of Six-Party Talks, as released in Beijing on September 19, 2005 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.

Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks

Beijing, 19 September 2005

For the cause of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in northeast Asia at large, the six parties held, in a spirit of mutual respect and equality, serious and practical talks concerning the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on the basis of the common understanding of the previous three rounds of talks, and agreed in this context to the following:

1) The six parties unanimously reaffirmed that the goal of the six-party talks is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

The DPRK ( North Korea ) committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and to IAEA safeguards.

The United States affirmed that it has no nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons.

The ROK ( South Korea ) reaffirmed its commitment not to receive or deploy nuclear weapons in accordance with the 1992 joint declaration of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, while affirming that there exist no nuclear weapons within its territory.

The 1992 joint declaration of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula should be observed and implemented.

The DPRK stated that it has the right to peaceful uses 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(s) to the DPRK.

2) The six parties undertook in their relations to abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and recognized norms of international relations.

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

The DPRK and Japan undertook to take steps to normalize their relations in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration, on the basis of the settlement of the unfortunate past and the outstanding issues of concern.

3) 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 2 million kilowatts of electric power to the DPRK.

4) The six parties committed to joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in northeast Asia. The directly related parties will negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula at an appropriate separate forum.

The six parties agreed to explore ways and means for promoting security cooperation in northeast Asia.

5) The six parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the aforementioned consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of "commitment for commitment, action for action."

6) The six parties agreed to hold the fifth round of the six party talks in Beijing in early November 2005 at a date to be determined through consultations.



by Joseph Kahn and David E. Sanger, New York Times, 19 September 2005

After a tense weekend of heated debate within the Bush administration, the lead American negotiator with North Korea made one last call to Washington at noon on Monday, Beijing time, and then signed a statement of principles that committed North Korea, in black and white, to give up "all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs."

But the negotiator, Christopher Hill, had misgivings because the vaguely worded agreement left unaddressed the date disarmament would happen, and hinted at a concession to North Korea that President Bush and his aides had long said they would never agree to: discussing at an appropriate time providing North Korea with a civilian nuclear power plant, senior administration officials said.

The plant, a light-water reactor, cannot produce fuel for nuclear bombs as efficiently as North Korea 's existing nuclear plants, but would keep the country in the nuclear business.

All day Monday, Washington time, the Bush administration said the only appropriate time would be well after North Korea dismantled all its nuclear facilities and allowed highly intrusive inspections of the country. On Monday evening, less than 24 hours after the deal was signed, North Korea declared that the United States "should not even dream" that it would dismantle its nuclear weapons before it receives a new nuclear plant.

As described by senior Bush administration officials and Asian participants in the talks, Mr. Bush agreed to eventual discussions on providing a nuclear plant only after China turned over a draft of an agreement and told the Americans they had hours to decide whether to take it or leave it.

The North Koreans, dependent on China for food and oil, were unhappy but ready to sign. "They said, 'Here's the text, and we're not going to change it, and we suggest you don't walk away,' " said one senior American official at the center of the debate.

Several officials, who would not allow their names to be used because they did not want to publicly discuss Mr. Bush's political challenges, noted that Mr. Bush is tied down in Iraq, consumed by Hurricane Katrina, and headed into another standoff over Iran 's nuclear program. The agreement, they said, provides him with a way to forestall, at least for now, a confrontation with another member of what he once famously termed "the axis of evil."

So after two days of debates that reached from Mr. Bush's cabin in Camp David to Condoleezza Rice's suite at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York to Tokyo, Moscow and Seoul, Mr. Bush gave the go-ahead on Sunday evening, once he had returned to the White House, to signing a preliminary accord with Kim Jong Il, a leader he has said he detests.

Had he decided to let the deal fall through, participants in the talks from several countries said, China was prepared to blame the United States for missing a chance to bring a diplomatic end to the confrontation.

The debate over signing the agreement reflected the fact that the North Koreans drove a tough bargain. The agreement has the potential to generate good will for North Korea, increase the aid it receives and possibly reduce its incentive to dismantle its nuclear programs anytime soon.

"The risk of this agreement is exactly what many hawks in Washington had warned about," said Peter Beck of the International Crisis Group in Seoul. "You reduce the sense of urgency and let people grow comfortable with the status quo."

Proponents of the deal say such fears are misplaced. They argue that the six-nation talks, involving China, Russia, South Korea and Japan as well as North Korea and the United States, exerted heavy pressure on the North to adhere to international norms.

All the benefits North Korea was promised in the agreement, including economic aid, security commitments, a possible normalization of relations with the United States, and a large infusion of electricity from South Korea, will not flow until it rejoins the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and readmits international nuclear inspectors.

In the end, participants in the discussions said, Mr. Bush decided he had little choice but to sign. He concluded several years ago that there were no acceptable military options for taking out the North's two separate nuclear programs.

Mr. Bush sounded cautious about it on Monday after a meeting in the Cabinet Room. "Now there is a way forward," he said. "They have said, in principle, that they will abandon their weapons programs. And what we have said is great, that's a wonderful step forward, but now we've got to verify whether or not that happens."

His caution may reflect the fact that the accord, the culmination of two years of difficult negotiation, still left the administration short of its goal, requiring two major concessions that will take months, maybe years, to fully resolve.

The accord makes no mention of the Bush administration's contention that North Korea has a secret, underground program to use enriched uranium to produce nuclear bomb fuel. North Korea has denied trying to produce nuclear fuel through enriched uranium, though it has acknowledged using plutonium from its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon for that purpose.

A nuclear program that depends on enriched uranium, like the one that made Pakistan a nuclear power, is much harder to monitor than a plutonium program.

Intelligence assessments, partly based on information from Seoul, that North Korea was building a secret uranium program were the basis of the administration's declaration in 2002 that North Korea had violated the terms of a 1994 agreement with the Clinton administration to end its nuclear efforts. That began the standoff that prompted North Korea to withdraw from the non-proliferation treaty, expel international inspectors, restart its reactor at Yongbyon, and claim that it had expanded its arsenal of atomic bombs. Intelligence agencies say North Korea may now have fuel for six or eight weapons, but that is an educated guess, they concede.

Despite that history, the new agreement does not explicitly address the existence of a uranium program. North Korea still denies having one, despite growing evidence that it at least tried to develop bomb fuel that way with Pakistan 's help.

A senior administration official said the uranium program was covered by the agreement because it required North Korea to dismantle all of its existing nuclear facilities, not specific plants or labs. But the accord did not require North Korea to own up to what the administration had described as its biggest deception, meaning that unless the North admits to the program in a declaration of all its nuclear facilities, inspectors would have to work to uncover the uranium program in an adversarial way down the road.

The second concession involved the North Korean demand that it receive a light-water nuclear reactor as a down payment for scrapping its weapons program.

Allowing North Korea to have a light-water reactor raises what for the Bush administration are unwelcome parallels with the 1994 Clinton administration agreement, which several administration officials, including Ms. Rice, had described as deeply flawed. The 1994 accord promised North Korea two light-water reactors in exchange for freezing its nuclear program. Construction on a site for the reactors began in the 1990's, but the reactors were never delivered. The United States said Monday that the consortium that provided those reactors would go out of business at the end of the year, meaning any new deal would have to begin from scratch.

Mr. Hill, in an interview, said that the administration "didn't want to see any mention" of providing North Korea with a light-water reactor in the statement of principles. But the Chinese included it. The United States also balked at the use of the vague term "appropriate" to describe the timing. South Korea, Russia and China were happy to accept that language, because it left open the question of when the North would receive the nuclear reactor, officials of several countries said.

To break the impasse, Ms. Rice came up with a compromise during meetings on Saturday afternoon with her South Korean and Japanese counterparts. Each country, she suggested, would issue separate statements describing their understanding of the deal, with a specificity that is not in the agreement itself. The South Koreans and Japanese went along with the idea, though South Korea, one official said, complained that it would "sour the atmosphere." Russia and China issued vaguer statements that left unclear the sequence of events.

As this unfolded over the weekend, the Chinese increased pressure on the United States to sign - or take responsibility for a breakdown in the talks.

"At one point they told us that we were totally isolated on this and that they would go to the press," and explain that the United States sank the accord, the senior administration official said. In the end, it was not necessary. The American delegation surprised some of the other parties on Monday morning with word that it could accept the agreement, sealing a deal.



The Asahi Shimbun, 20 September 2005

In a development that possibly heralds an eventual breakthrough on the thorny abduction issue, North Korea has agreed to resume bilateral talks with Japan, Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura announced Tuesday.

Machimura said the talks would cover "outstanding issues," which analysts took to mean as the abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s, as well as Pyongyang 's nuclear and missile programs. Machimura said the resumption of negotiations was a "necessary step for opening up the road toward eventual normalization of diplomatic relations." Bilateral contacts have basically been on hold since the end of last year.

Machimura said officials of both governments were working closely to set a date and venue for the next round of bilateral talks. Machimura said the apparent breakthrough was reached Sunday in Beijing on the sidelines of six-way talks to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs. During the six-way talks, Japan and North Korea held bilateral talks for five days in a row. That evidently set the stage for the agreement to continue dialogue between the two sides.

Machimura said there had been no "open contact" between the two sides since November, when DNA testing of human remains alleged by North Korea to be those of abductee Megumi Yokota were found to be of someone else.

" North Korea has begun to realize the necessity of resolving its outstanding issues with Japan, " the foreign minister said. Machimura acknowledged that the resumption of talks did not mean normalized relations were around the corner.

"I do not believe it will be a smooth path, but it is an important issue for Japan that has to be resolved as quickly as possible," he said. "For that reason, we welcome the resumption of dialogue."

Talks with North Korea on normalizing diplomatic relations have remained stalled since October 2002, shortly after Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a landmark visit to Pyongyang for summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.



BBC, 23 September 2005

It is unclear what impact the loss of food aid will have. North Korea has formally told the UN it no longer needs food aid, despite reports of malnutrition in the country. Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon said the country now had enough food, due to a good harvest, and accused the US of using aid as a political weapon. Top UN relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland said an "abrupt" end to food aid would harm North Korea 's most vulnerable.

Pyongyang 's move comes as the world community continues to urge it to give up its nuclear ambitions. Analysts say North Korea might be worried that accepting more food aid now could be perceived as a sign of weakness. The North may also have lost patience with efforts by foreign agencies to monitor deliveries of food, according to the BBC's Seoul correspondent, Charles Scanlon.

In recent years, the UN and other international agencies have been feeding up to six million of the poorest and most vulnerable North Koreans. But these organisations have long struggled for access to one of the world's most closed societies. Even at the height of a famine in the mid-1990s, which may have killed two million people, they were tightly restricted and refused entry to large parts of the country. Now the authorities are cracking down altogether, our correspondent says.

After meeting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York on Thursday, Choe Su Hon told reporters: "We requested him to end humanitarian assistance by the end of this year." He said that the North wanted all foreign NGOs out by the end of the year, and added that the UN was to stop delivering food aid and to focus on long-term development instead. Mr Egeland urged North Korea to reverse its decision, saying he was especially worried about the country's children.

"Our concern is they (North Koreans) will not be able to have enough food. We are very concerned because we think this is too soon and too abrupt," he said. Gerald Bourke, a spokesman for the WFP, said that UN staff were currently discussing with the North Korean government what this meant in practice - adding that he was hopeful that current food-for-work and other community-based projects would class as longer-term development.

"We're also talking to donors to see how much they still want to help us in this way," he added.

Mr Bourke said that despite Mr Choe's assertion of a better harvest in North Korea this year - and his pledge that the government was "prepared to provide the food to all our people" - there was still a considerable need for food aid.

" North Korea has a substantial and chronic food deficit," Mr Bourke said, adding that malnutrition rates, especially for mothers and young children, were still very high.

Mr Choe also accused other countries, especially the US, of attempting to "politicize humanitarian assistance, linking it to the human rights issue". He said this constituted interference in the internal affairs of the country. Washington rejected the suggestion it was mixing politics with relief work.

"All US decisions are based on... the need of the country involved, competing needs elsewhere and our ability to ensure that the aid gets to people who need it most," a State Department statement said.

Another problem which analysts believe may have led to the North's decision to ask foreign organisations to leave is the extensive surveying these groups are required to do, to ensure their money is being well-spent.

"Part of the problem is with our monitoring people moving around the country," Mr Bourke conceded. "This is and has been a concern for them."

In contrast, China and South Korea provide huge food shipments to North Korea without overseeing where it ends up. The South says it gives such aid as part of a strategy to promote political reconciliation. But diplomats and aid workers say these generous shipments have undermined the multilateral effect. According to our correspondent, there is concern that if monitoring stops, so too will surveys to check the food gets to those most in need. *************************************************


by Kim Jae-kyoung, Korea Times, 20 September 2005

Fitch Ratings said Tuesday that it is considering raising the sovereign rating on South Korea as geopolitical risks in the Korean Peninsula have been eased following the North Korea ’s agreement to scrap its nuclear program. The UK-based agency has placed Korea ’s long-term foreign currency “A” rating on “rating watch positive,” heightening hope that a rating hike will be made in the foreseeable future.

The agency said that Korea ’s ratings could be upgraded following a review of the agreement announced at the six-party talks on Monday in which North Korea committed to ending its nuclear weapons program.

“This is the first significant agreement to emerge from the six-party talks and it goes some way to addressing our concerns regarding the security threat posed by North Korea, ” said James McCormack, head of Asia Sovereigns at Fitch. “It effectively precludes any immediate referral of the issue to the United Nations Security Council, which could have resulted in the imposition of economic sanctions and a further heightening of tensions,” he added.

But the agency pointed out that although the announcement itself was a positive development, many of the details are yet to be worked out and much will depend on North Korean implementation, which has been unreliable following previous agreements.

Fitch kept Korea ’s national credit rating at “A” with a stable outlook for three straight years since it last raised the rating to “A” from “BBB+” in June 2002. The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MOFE) said Tuesday that the successful six-party talks have cleared the way for international rating agencies to upgrade the sovereign ratings in the near future. The ministry said that the Fitch’s move has raised hope that the nation’s sovereign rating will be raised to “A plus,” the level one notch below the one prior to the 1997 financial crisis.

The ministry said that Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s Investors Service are also likely to raise their credit ratings as they have cited the North’s nuclear brinkmanship as the biggest risk to the Korean Peninsula.

In July S&P raised Korea ’s sovereign credit rating by one notch to “A” from “A minus,” citing a stronger banking sector and a flexible monetary stance, setting the ratings outlook at stable.

“Future movement of Korea ’s sovereign rating will be determined by developments in North Korea, ” the rating agency said in the statement.

The US-based Moody’s has kept Korea ’s rating at “A3” since March 2002, when the agency raised the ratings by two notches from “Baa2.”

The successful multinational negotiations are expected to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and give further momentum to the South-North economic cooperation development project. The geopolitical risks triggered by the North’s nuclear issue have been a major stumbling bock to foreign investment and a rating upgrade by international credit rating agencies.



Original to CanKor, Pyongyang, 26 September 2005

[A letter encouraging support for a “confederal” republic on the Korean Peninsula has been sent far and wide by the DPRK’s “Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People”. CanKor received a copy directly from the DPRK Permanent Mission to the United Nations headquarters in New York.]

Now we are marking 25th anniversary (Oct. 10) of publishing a proposal to found a Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo (DCRK) advanced by the President Kim Il Sung who devoted all his life to the national reunification.

The publication of this proposal, the most realistic and fair one, acceptable to the both side of the north and the south is the immortal achievement of the President Kim Il Sung which will shine forth in the national history along with the reunification.

The Korean people are making a great effort for the national reunification under the banner of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration, the cornerstone of the independent reunification.

After the publication of the Joint Declaration, the general principles for the realization of the reunification, the north-south relations made another leap forward from the dialogue and exchange to the wide reconciliation and cooperation going forward towards reunification.

This proves eloquently that the north and south of Korea had embarked on a realization of the reunification on the basis of idea of “By our nation itself”.

It is the most justifiable and realistic proposal which corresponded with the reality of the divided Korea and the urgent demand of the Korean nation.

The entire Korean people whether they are in the north, south and abroad, aspire after the reunification, but the several issues are being raised in realizing the reunification. If the national reunification is to be achieved without encroaching upon the interests of the entire Korean nation, we should have the reasonable reunification program acceptable to anyone. If the both sides persist in their own interests without fair and reasonable reunification program, confrontation is unavoidable and the national reunification could not be achieved at any time.

The keynote of the proposal of founding the DCRK is to reunify the country by founding a confederal republic through the establishment of an unified national government on condition that the north and the south recognize and tolerate each other’s ideas and systems, a government in which the two sides are represented on an equal footing and under which they exercise regional autonomy with equal rights and duties

There should be a federal government consisting of a supreme national confederal council and a federal standing committee in the unified state of the federal formula. The federal government envisages exercising its jurisdiction over the political, national defence and external relation issues and the other general issues and giving guidance to the regional governments. The regional governments are supposed to exercise their own policies in accordance with the fundamental interests of the nation under the leadership of the confederal government.

The proposal of founding the DCRK is the brilliant blueprint enabling the national reunification to be achieved on the basis of defending the interests of the entire Korean people transcending all the differences between north and south.

The proposal for the reunification of the federal formula proceeds from the realistic ground that the people with different ideas can live in the same country and the different systems coexist in an unified state, and from the principle of loving the country and people that the national reunification can brook no delay though the posterity can be entrusted with the reunification of the system.

This goes clearly to prove that the proposal for the national reunification by means of the confederation is the most reasonable and justifiable proposal for the national reunification, associated with the devotion to the country and people which gives maximum priority to the national interests.

The confederation is the very unique and justifiable proposal for the national reunification, provided that the different ideas and systems existing in the north and the south of Korea are consolidated for a long time and any side does not give up its idea and system. It is none other than the confederation formula to achieve the national reunification smoothly in accordance with the specific reality of Korea where the different ideas and systems remain in the north and the south, and the urgent desire of the national reunification.

Some people consider that the reunification by means of confederation is not the complete one. But we can take the reunification of the system over the younger generation.

The miraculous changes of the latest date, impossible in the past several decades, as the reconnection of severed railways and the roadways etc shows actually the possibility of the reunification based upon the coexistence of the different regime.

Once the Korea will be reunified based on a principle of one nation, one state, two systems, two governments, the security problem in Korean peninsula and NE Asia will be fundamentally resolved and the common interests of concerned countries will be firmly assured.

All the concerned countries, including the US, should encourage and promote the reunification of Korea instead of turning aside from zeal of all Koreans and reality making continuous advance towards the reunification or doing contrariwise of it.

The Korean reunification can be successfully realized only through the proposal for the national reunification based on the confederation in the future whatever the situation and environment change.

So the progressive people the world over set the October when the proposal for the national reunification of federation was published as the Month of Supporting the Proposal of Founding the DCRK and take the solidarity steps of various kinds for the Korean people in their struggle to achieve the national reunification in this period.