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    APROPOS THE SECOND ROUND OF SIX-SIDED BEIJING TALKS AROUND NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

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    Six-sided regional talks on unblocking the crisis around North Korea's nuclear program opened in Beijing February 25.

    High-ranking North Korean and US diplomats, as well as those from other concerned parties, i.e. Russia, China, South Korea and Japan, gathered at the Diaoyutai official residence for the second round of talks.

    Following below is a list of events, which preceded this decision.

    In 1985 North Korea joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

    In 1986 North Korea accused the United States of turning South Korea into its largest Far Eastern nuclear military base, suggesting that the Korean Peninsula become a nuclear-free zone.

    In 1989 the United States, Japan and other countries, which became worried that North Korea might develop its own nuclear weapons, called on Pyongyang to authorize international inspections on North Korean territory.

    On December 23, 1991 a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry said that Pyongyang agreed to sign security agreements stemming from the nuclear-weapons non-proliferation treaty.

    On January 30, 1992 North Korea and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed an agreement on nuclear-safety guarantees stemming from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

    On April 9, 1992 the North Korean Parliament ratified an agreement on nuclear-safety guarantees with the IAEA.

    On April 10, 1992 North Korea commissioned a nuclear particle accelerator, which was received in line with an IAEA technical-assistance program, and which was assembled with the help of former Soviet specialists. North Korea was then subjected to all-out pressure by the United States and South Korea.

    On March 12, 1993 North Korea said that it was withdrawing from the nonproliferation treaty.

    Pyongyang hosted talks involving an IAEA delegation September 1-3, 1993, with the sides discussing allegedly biased IAEA inspections.

    IAEA experts arrived in Pyongyang March 1, 1994 for the purpose of checking the state of IAEA monitoring equipment at North Korean nuclear facilities.

    On May 15, 1994 North Korea said that it had started replacing graphite rods inside the Yonben reactor without IAEA inspectors but under the watchful eye of IAEA equipment.

    A group of IAEA experts arrived in Pyongyang May 17, 1994; however, consultations failed, after North Korea advanced political demands.

    On November 1, 1994 North Korea suspended construction of graphite-rod reactors with a rated power of 50,000 and 200,000 kW, respectively.

    On October 21, 1994 a US-North Korean framework agreement on solving the nuclear problem and settling bilateral relations was unveiled in Geneva. The US side pledged to help build North Korean nuclear power plants replete with two light-water nuclear reactors (total rated power 2 million kW). The United States was to have delivered 500,000 tons of liquid fuel per year to North Korea until the first reactor's completion. In return, North Korea was to have mothballed its old-time graphite-rod nuclear reactor, eventually dismantling it in line with these accords. Moreover, the agreement stated expressly that North Korea would continue to abide by the nuclear-weapons non-proliferation treaty, also fulfilling specific agreements on nuclear-safety and nuclear-security guarantees.

    On January 21, 1995 US-North Korean consultations on storing spent nuclear fuel wound up in Pyongyang.

    An IAEA delegation completed its work January 28, 1995, determining that North Korea had mothballed five nuclear facilities, and that construction of two reactors had been stopped, as well.

    On December 15, 1995 the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, which was established under US auspices, and North Korea signed an agreement in New York on supplying two light-water reactors to Pyongyang.

    On January 30, 2002 President George Bush Jr. of the United States referred to North Korea as an axis-of-evil country together with Iran and Iraq, thus rolling back Pyongyang-Washington relations.

    On August 7, 2002 the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization started laying the foundation of a North Korean reactor.

    On October 3-5, 2002 US Undersecretary of State James Kelly visited North Korea, confronting Pyongyang with evidence of its continued nuclear program. North Korea admitted that it had resumed its nuclear projects, due to Washington's failure to fulfill its commitments and to build light-water reactors.

    On December 21, 2002 North Korea removed IAEA closed-circuit cameras from the moth-balled Yonben reactors.

    IAEA international inspectors left North Korea December 31, 2002.

    On January 7, 2003 the United States voiced its consent to negotiate with North Korea, noting that such talks must focus on Pyongyang's compliance with its international commitments alone. There will be no more concessions, President George Bush Jr. stressed.

    On January 10, 2003 the Government of North Korea announced its decision to withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Seoul perceived that move as an attempt to persuade the United States to negotiate with Pyongyang.

    Beijing hosted the first round of six-sided talks August 27-29, 2003. The concerned parties merely agreed to continue such talks.

    On June 9, 2003 North Korea threatened to acquire nuclear-deterrence forces, unless the United States stopped threatening it.

    On August 30, 2003 North Korea threatened to beef up its nuclear-deterrence forces, without saying anything specific about such forces.

    The second round of six-sided talks opened in Beijing February 25.

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