Dialogue in Beijing becomes chance to denounce N. Korea’s missile launch

Posted on : 2016-06-23 17:18 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Members of Six-Party Talks are gathered for series of talks featuring government officials and experts
Choe Son-hui
Choe Son-hui

The Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) kicked off in Beijing on June 22 with participants including chief and vice negotiators for the countries in the Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, but North Korea’s launch of what were presumed to be Musudan missiles on the same day turned the dialogue into an opportunity to denounce the missile launch.

During a closed seminar on Wednesday morning that was attended by delegations from all participating countries, the South Korean, American and Japanese delegations harshly criticized and denounced North Korea, sources said. These countries also expressed their strong regret during their presentations.

The Japanese delegation was reportedly the most displeased with the Musudan launch and met separately with the delegations from each of the other countries to discuss the issue. Japan said that it had made a complaint about North Korea’s behavior and confirmed its “close ties” with South Korea, the US, China and Russia, a source said.

The North Korean delegation reportedly did not offer a response to the Musudan issue.

There has been no confirmation of what position the Chinese and Russian delegations indicated in regard to the Musudan launch during the dialogue.

But the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry did broach the topic during the regular press briefing. “Affairs on the Korean Peninsula remain very complicated and sensitive. The concerned countries ought to refrain from behavior that can raise tensions and to work with us to preserve regional peace and stability,” the spokesperson said.

The NEACD was jointly organized by the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) at the University of California and the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), which is affiliated with China’s Foreign Ministry.

Especially noteworthy was the fact that North Korean officials - including Choe Son-hui, North Korea’s vice negotiator for the Six-Party Talks and deputy director for US affairs at its Foreign Ministry - attended the event for the first time since 2012.

On Wednesday, the North Korean officials reportedly justified their nuclear weapons by saying that they could not abandon their nuclear weapons until the entire world had been denuclearized.

When other participants asked about the possibility of the Six-Party Talks being restored, North Korean officials reportedly responded with skepticism. “The Six-Party Talks are dead,” one official was quoted as saying.

The dialogue, which is also called the “mini six-party talks,” is a “1.5-track” public- and private-sector forum attended both by scholars and officials responsible for foreign policy and defense. This year, the dialogue will continue through the morning of June 23.

By Kim Oi-hyun, Beijing correspondent

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]


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