UN chief praises China role in Six Party Talks

Updated: 2011-12-15 08:53


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UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Wednesday voiced his appreciation of China's role "in trying to facilitate the Six-Party Talks," which he said "had been playing a very important role" in achieving the denuclearization of  the Korean Peninsula, and called on all the parties concerned "to promote a politically conducive atmosphere" for the early resumption of the talks.

The statement came as the secretary-general was speaking here at his year-end press conference, which is also the last one in Ban's first five-year term and he will begin his second term as the UN chief on January 1.

"I also appreciate the Chinese role in trying to facilitate the Six-Party Talks," Ban said.  "The Six-Party Talks had been playing a very important role, a crucial role, in addressing North Korean nuclear issues, and there was a joint statement, which had not been, unfortunately, implemented."

"I do hope that, since the current situation is not tenable, they should engage in dialogue and try to promote a politically conducive atmosphere. It requires all the parties of the six countries  -- the United States, Japan, Russia, and both Koreas and China," he said.

The Six-Party Talks, aiming at achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, were launched in 2003, but became bogged down in December 2008. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea pulled out of the talks in April 2009.

China has maintained close contact and held consultations with the relevant parties on easing the situation and pushing the Six- Party Talks forward.

Yet the talks have been suspended since December 2008, and the Korean Peninsula has periodically experienced heightened tension since then, including an exchange of artillery fire last November.

"It is quite regrettable that the situation in the Korean Peninsula has not been moving ahead," he said. Recently, you have seen all the escalation of tensions over North Korean attacks against South Korean naval ships and Yeonpyeong Island that seemed to have created a mood on the Korean Peninsula -- almost in a negative way, frozen. At the same time, there had been some diplomatic attempts by the countries concerned, like China, to revive the six-party talks, and there were some meetings between the heads of state in the region."

"I myself have been also trying to facilitate, to create a favorable atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula, as Secretary-General, and also in my personal capacity as a Korean citizen," he said. "I do hope to see the amelioration of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, particularly between South and North Korea."

Ban said that South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has told him his government, despite the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, "will continue to provide the basic humanitarian assistance (to the north side of the Korean Peninsula), particularly to children, infants, for their nutrition."

"I think that is welcome," Ban said. "I sincerely hope that there will be some more expansion of exchanges and cooperation through initiating humanitarian assistance to North Korea."