North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

NK Claims Readiness to Return to 6 Party Talks

North Korean Ambassador to the U.N. Sin Son-ho holds a news conference Friday after the Security Council’s adoption of a presidential statement on the sinking of the Cheonan. Yonhap News

Now that the UNSC has acted on the Cheonan, and neither annoyed the North Koreans  nor gotten Sin Son Ho fired from his New York diplorep posting, the DPRK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the country’s willingness to return to the 6 Party Talks.  In MOFA’s statement carried through KCNA, the country “will make consistent efforts for the conclusion of a peace treaty and the denuclearization through the six-party talks conducted on an equal footing.”

Korea Times’ Kim Young-jin reports:

But a senior government official in Seoul stressed Sunday that the talks will remain stalled until Pyongyang apologizes for the March sinking of a South Korean warship, and proves its true willingness to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

The North’s announcement came after a U.N. Security Council presidential statement released Friday did not directly blame the North for the sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonan on March 26 in the West Sea, in which 46 sailors were killed.

In the statement, the UNSC condemned the attack and called for resuming direct dialogue to settle issues on the Korean Peninsula. But it fell short of laying blame on North Korea amid fierce opposition from China, the North’s last major ally.

“We take note of the presidential statement saying that ‘the Security Council encourages the settlement of outstanding issues on the Korean Peninsula by peaceful means to resume direct dialogue and negotiation through appropriate channels,'” the North’s Korean Central News Agency quoted an unnamed foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

The spokesman added, “The Cheonan case should have been settled between the North and the South without referring it to the U.N.”

A six-party agreement signed in 2005 by the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia calls for a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula to replace the armistice, in addition to the North’s denuclearization, in exchange for economic aid and diplomatic recognition by Washington.

“The DPRK (North Korea) will make consistent efforts for the conclusion of a peace treaty and denuclearization through the six-party talks conducted on an equal footing,” the official said.

But the spokesman also warned that if “hostile forces” continue to provoke the North despite the U.N. call for peaceful dialogue, they will be met with “strong physical retaliation” and escalation of the conflict.

The aforementioned Son Son Ho gave a press conference on Friday.  This is one of three related offerings on Northeast Asia Matters.

Sin Son Ho said that the UNSC could not make any proper judgment or conclusion as it hastily tabled and handled the case before the truth of the case has been probed.

The “Ch’o’nan” case should have been settled between the North and the South without referring it to the UN, he said, adding: The DPRK will probe the truth behind the case to the last.

The recent development in which the situation on the Korean Peninsula reached a point of explosion in a moment due to a conspiratorial farce once again reminds us of the danger of the present cease-fire and the urgency to establish a peace-keeping regime.

The DPRK will make consistent efforts for the conclusion of a peace treaty and the denuclearization on the peninsula through the Six-Party Talks conducted on equal footing.

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