Monday, October 04, 2004


Developments which may or may not have any significant long-term consequences:

PRC indicates its preference for the six-party talks.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, said diplomacy should concentrate on bringing the isolate North back to the negotiating table.

"I think it will work," Powell said. "I think that the six-party framework is what we should be concentrating on, and not any other means of dealing with this right now."

Li said the "entire international community" agrees that the six-nation approach is the best way to deal with the problem.
Now this could just be diplo-speak coming from Beijing, trying to put the best face and a united front until November 2. But I find the timing of Li Zhaoxing's statement to be curious: days after Presidential candidate John Kerry makes it clear that he favors bilateral talks, China says it favors the current six-party format.

North Korea to U.S.: "Enough already about the HEU program that we don't have
"North Korea Saturday accused the United States of fabricating information about its alleged uranium enrichment program and urged it to withdraw the "groundless claims" if it truly wants to solve the dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

"The uranium scheme allegation was intentionally fabricated by the U.S. administration to isolate our nation in the international community," the state-controlled Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary, which was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency."
This isn't all that new or suprising. But this report (if it checks out) is.
For the first time since the North Korean nuclear standoff began nearly two years ago, China has confirmed Pyongyang's intention to conduct uranium enrichment, a Japanese media report says. The topic has been one of the focal points in the six nation disarmament talks it hosts that also involve South Korea, the United States, Japan, and Russia.

According to the report, carried by the Tokyo-based Kyodo News Agency, China has told fellow participants in the six-party talks that the North has tried to enrich uranium.

Quoting a source involved with the multilateral dialogue, the agency reported out of Washington that China "apparently changed its stance" and informed other members of the talks, including Japan and South Korea, that it believes the North "at least attempted to enrich" uranium.
If valid, this would seem to be a rather significant development that puts the DPRK in a more difficult position.

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