| Six nations resume nuclear talks |
|BEIJING, Feb. 8 - The six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue resumed on Thursday afternoon in Beijing, focusing on the first steps toward denuclearization on the peninsula.
Chinese chief negotiator Wu Dawei made a speech at the opening ceremony at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in downtown Beijing, a venue for the talks since 2003.
"I hope the meeting will become a good start for implementing the joint statement, and become a new starting point in the process of denuclearization on Korean Peninsula," said Wu.
Under a 2005 joint statement, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to abandon its nuclear program, other parties consented to provide economic aid to DPRK, and all parties pledged to work for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
After the last session of the talks which ended in December without breakthrough, all parties have carried out a flurry of diplomacy to restart the talks.
"In particular, the delegates from the DPRK and the United States held productive contacts," said Wu. "All the efforts have laid a more mature foundation for the reconvening of the talks."
U.S top envoy Christopher Hill and the DPRK envoy Kim Kye-Gwan had a rare one-on-one talk in Berlin last month, which was seen as a helpful step in resuming the new round of six-party negotiations.
But Hill on Thursday denied an alleged signing of memorandum at a meeting between the two sides in Berlin.
"We had good discussions and talked about what we might do in the next six-party talks. We didn't sign anything," said Hill at a hotel in Beijing.
Reports claimed the United States and the DPRK inked a memorandum during the Berlin talks, agreeing that Pyongyang's first steps toward its denuclearization and U.S. energy assistance should begin simultaneously.
Kim, after having arrived in Beijing Thursday, said "we are prepared to discuss initial steps of denuclearization......We are neither optimist nor pessimist because there are still a lot of problems to be resolved."