Alexander Losyukov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia While not overestimating the significance of the meeting of six countries in Beijing late in August, its psychologically advantageous aspect can (and should) be given due attention. It brought a touch of optimism and vivacity to not only the participants in the meeting, but also among other states that are interested in normal negotiations to settle North Korea's nuclear problem.
Though we have failed even to agree on the next round of talks, their venue and date, everyone involved was returning from the hospitable Chinese capital with not only a feeling of gratitude to the hosts for a cordial welcome, but also a better understanding of each other's positions and the well-grounded hope, if not confidence, that sooner or later we shall continue our meetings.
Nevertheless, it is no less significant that there are already six of us and everyone without exception (the North Korean representative spoke about this as well) wants one thing - to retain the nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula.
It is significant in this context that everyone who took part in the Beijing talks is still prepared to concentrate on the most important issue , putting aside some problems and claims, of which there are many, or leaving them to later stages of the negotiating process.
Now that the six participants in the talks have assumed responsibility for the further development of the situation in Korea, the chances for substantial progress in the negotiations have increased accordingly.
So, what is the stumbling block? I think that since the Beijing meeting it has become even more obvious that North Korea should be given security guarantees, possibly on a multilateral basis, taking its concerns duly into account. This would help install confidence and demonstrate goodwill, which is crucial during negotiations.
This refers in the first place to the key figures in the talks - the US and North Korea. I see the chief mission of the other partners as giving every possible form of assistance in promoting this positive process, without which it will be difficult to reach agreement.
So, the Beijing process is under way. I am sure that it will be continued.
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