What Are 6 Party Talks?
The six-party talks are negotiations that were formed after North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003. There were 6 states involved in the talks, namely Japan, North Korea, Russia, China, South Korea and the US. The talks were held in Beijing and were often chaired by China.The objective of the talks was to address security concerns that had been raised following the formation of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.
Contentious Issues Addressed by the 6 Party Talks
Better Diplomatic Relations
The first issue of concern to the North Korean government was improvement of its diplomatic relations. A lot of sanctions had been imposed on North Korea because of its involvement in the production of weapons of mass destruction. At the six-party talks, it needed to be assured that there would be normalization of its diplomatic relations with the five parties. In return, it would discuss ways of giving up its nuclear weapons program.
Economic and Financial Sanctions
North Korea has had to face multiple economic and financial sanctions due to its refusal to dismantle the nuclear weapons program. One of those sanctions had been applied by China whereby all their foreign bank accounts in Macau’s Banco Delta Asia were froze. Furthermore, a ban was placed by the UNSCR on all luxury goods to North Korea. This was following the nuclear weapons test in October 2006. The aim of the six-party talks was to normalize trade relations between North Korea and other foreign countries. The North Korean accounts were unfrozen by the US as goodwill in the process of the six-party talks.
Guarantee of Peaceful Use of Nuclear Weapons
The international community’s aim was to use the six-party talks to ensure that North Korea uses its nuclear weapons for only civilian purposes.
North Koreans started producing nuclear weapons with the aim of protecting itself from foreign invasion. This was after President Bush’s administration threatened to overthrow its government by force. The six-party talks aim at assuring North Korea that withdrawal of the nuclear weapons will not result in any security threats.
Form of Disarmament
The parties involved in the six-party talks have not yet agreed on whether North Korea should ban nuclear weapons completely or not. The US and Japan demand that North Korea needs to completely dismantle the program. On the contrary; South Korea, Russia, and China agree that the disarmament should take a step by step process. Six-party talks exist to reach an agreement on the best strategy of disarmament to be used.
History of the Six Party Talks
The 1st round of the six-party talks commenced on August 27, 2003 and ended on August 29, 2003. This was followed by a 2nd round of talks between February 25th and 28th, 2004. The main agenda for this meeting was the denuclearization of North Korea’s Peninsula. The 2nd round talks were followed by the 4th, 5th, and 6th round of talks. In April 2009, after North Korea went on with its satellite launch, the six-party talks were discontinued. This was followed by the Battle of Daecheong which took place on November 10, 2009. The North Korean ship sustained heavy casualties. Since then, there have been several attacks launched by North Korea against South Korea. In 2014, China supposedly received an agreement by North Korea to resume the 6-party talks. However, the talks have not resumed to date with unstoppable nuclear threats in North Korea.