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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010, Kyodo News of Japan:

Six-party talks up to North: Bosworth.

U.S. special envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth said Saturday in Tokyo he hopes to see “fairly soon” the resumption of the stalled six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear programs, but added whether that is realized depends on the North.

“Five of the six parties are prepared to move very quickly. And we would hope that the sixth, that is to say the DPRK, will also decide to move ahead very quickly,” Bosworth told reporters, referring to North Korea by its official name of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

But the U.S. point man for North Korea policy also said, “In the end, of course, the decision as to whether they are going to come back and when, it is up to the DPRK.”

While admitting that there is no agreement yet on when to resume the multilateral talks involving North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, Bosworth said, “I hope that, in the not too distant future, but fairly soon, we will see a resumption of the talks.”

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UN-North Korea talks hint at a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula
Source: Global Times ,  February 21 2010
By Ronda Hauben also of www.taz.de/blogs/netizenblog

This June 25 marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. Only an armistice and a temporary agreement, not a peace treaty, are in place to help prevent a renewed outbreak of hostilities.

A four-person delegation from the office of the UN Secretary-General which included B. Lynn Pascoe and Kim Won-soo recently returned to the UN after their visit to North Korea, between February 9 and 12, 2010.

This was the first delegation to establish official relations between North Korea and the UN Secretariat since Maurice Strong acted as an envoy of Kofi Annan to North Korea in 2004.

At the press conference at the UN, held on the return of the UN delegation, only minimal information was provided about the issues that North Korea raised.

In his brief presentation, Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, mentioned some of the issues discussed, including a statement that there had been back-and-forth talks about a peace treaty.

Pascoe said, however, that he was not going to get into details. A little later in the press conference, a question was asked about what issues North Korea had brought up. Pascoe’s response included that North Korea did talk about a peace treaty and why they saw it as an important way to build trust.

Much of the press conference, focused on questions about North Korea returning to the Six-Party Talks.

A purpose of the UN secretariat trip was to convey messages from other parties of the Six-Party Talks to North Korea, and to convey the Secretary- General’s view that talks need to begin without preconditions.

At the end of WWII, Korea was artificially divided into two separate entities: the Republic of Korea in the south, or South Korea, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north, or North Korea. This division was initially regarded as temporary. Instead, it was maintained and reinforced by various actions of the UN. Then during the Korean War, the United Nations flag and name were used.

North Korea sees the need for a peace treaty to help calm the tension that exists because currently there is only the temporary armistice agreement.

North Korea proposes that three parties to the armistice, the US (for the UN command), North Korea, and China (the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army) to negotiate for the peace treaty. It also proposes to include South Korea.

This is proposed as the means to build confidence among these four parties so as to be able to return to the Six- Party Talks with experience to make possible reaching an agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The actual denuclearization will be a task that will involve both North Korea giving up its nuclear weapon capability and South Korea giving up the protection that the US offers it by including it under the US’s nuclear umbrella.

The press conference at the UN, however, didn’t discuss the issue of the peace treaty or the need to consider the denuclearization of both nations on the Korean Peninsula.

Instead, the majority of questions concerned whether North Korea would return to the Six-Party Talks.

North Korea has criticized the talks as not helpful to solving the disputes that continue to breed hostility in the region. Recent talks have focused on removing the nuclear capability of North Korea, rather than similarly considering North Korea’s claim that it needs its nuclear capability as a security measure as long as hostile actions continue by other members of the Six-Party process.

In previous talks between North Korea and the US, one of the negotiators explained the most difficult part of the negotiations was determining how to phrase the issue of the talks so that it recognized the interests of different parties to the controversy. He said that North Korea made the reasonable request that the issue be phrased in a way satisfactory to both North Korea and the US.

One would expect a similar problem will need to be solved to facilitate discussion among the parties to the Six-Party Talks, or to facilitate negotiations toward a peace treaty to end the Korean War.

After the press conference, Kim Won-soo, Deputy Chef de Cabinet of the UN, said the dispute over how to get back to negotiations could be seen as a difference over what sequencing was acceptable.

What order of actions would the parties agree to with regard to discussing a peace treaty, ending the UN sanctions, or returning to the Six-Party Talks process, could be considered an issue to be discussed, rather than phrasing the problem in terms favorable to one side or the other. This is the basis for further discussion and negotiation among North Korea and the other countries.

The UN is technically still at war with North Korea. These current developments raise the question of whether Ban Ki-moon is willing to use the good offices of his position as Secretary-General to offer what help he can to facilitate a peace treaty to end the Korean War.

Even this first step of an official visit by the four-member UN Secretariat delegation and the mere mention that the North Korea referred to the desire for a peace treaty can be seen as a step forward.

The Secretary-General is endeavoring to help solve the stalemate among the parties regarding the continuing tension on the Korean Peninsula.

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The author is an award-winning US journalist covering the United Nations.  netizenblog at gmail.com

 opinion.globaltimes.cn/commentary…

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Global Times appears in English and originates from Beijing.

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