North Korea’s decision to return to six-party talks on its nuclear programme has been welcomed by governments around the world, but in Beijing, there is special satisfaction. China agreed to sanctions with other members of the UN Security Council, after Pyongyang carried out a nuclear test a few weeks ago. But behind the scenes, it began a round of diplomacy which seems to have paid off.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman told journalists it is because of Beijing’s efforts, that Pyongyang agreed to return to the bargaining table, in exchange for continued aid. There were congratulations and caution from US President George W. Bush, who vowed to ensure implementation of sanctions continued:
“I want to thank the Chinese for encouraging the meeting that got the agreement to get the six party talks restarted,” he said. “I’ve always felt like it is important for the US to be at the table with other partners when it comes time for addressing this important issue.”
Japanese officials also expressed caution. Foreign Minister Taro Aso was quoted as saying Japan could not accept North Korea’s return to the talks unless it first renounced nuclear weapons.
US assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said Pyongyang has made no promises about future tests.