The latest round of six party talks (6PT) ended in agreement on 13 February with all parties renewing their commitment to the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005. Specifically the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility and allow inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency personnel. In return, the parties have agreed to provide economic, energy and humanitarian assistance to the DPRK up to the equivalent of one million tons of heavy fuel oil. The agreement also establishes five working groups tasked with formulating plans to implement the Joint Statement. They will focus on DPRK-US relations, DPRK-Japan relations, denuclearisation, economy and energy co-operation and Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism. The next round of the 6PT is scheduled to take place on 19 March, before which it is expected that all five working groups will have had a chance to hold initial discussions.
The issue has not been raised with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. However, we understand the US Administration has requested an increase in funding from US$4.6 million to US$8 million for the Korean services of Voice of America and Radio Free Asia for the next financial year.
The US and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held bilateral talks earlier this week in New York as part of the agreement reached at the latest round of the six party talks on 13 February. The discussions provided an opportunity for both sides to discuss bilateral concerns in an attempt to move towards normalisation of relations between the two countries. Given that these were bilateral meetings, the UK did not make any representations. Both countries have reported that the talks were constructive and a wide range of issues were covered.
The agreement reached on 13 February is a step in the right direction towards the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The UK will take every opportunity to urge the DPRK to fulfil the commitments it has entered into.