26 June 2008 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the submission by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) of the declaration of its nuclear programmes to China as a “very encouraging development” in efforts towards the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Today’s submission by the DPRK, “followed by the reciprocal actions of the United States, are important steps forward,” Mr. Ban said, referring to the announcement by the US that it was preparing to remove the country from its list of State sponsors of terrorism and lift some sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.
The declaration was submitted to China, the chair of the six-party talks – which also include the DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the US – aimed at achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of a two-week trip to Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, Mr. Ban also called on all six participants to take this opportunity to expedite movement towards the full implementation of the 2005 Joint Statement, according to which the DPRK would abandon its nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.
“I strongly support their efforts towards this end,” he stated.
When asked about the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by the DPRK, Mr. Ban said: “With the situation moving in a favourable direction, I sincerely hope that both the Japanese and DPRK will engage in dialogue so that they can resolve this issue in a peaceful manner.”
Of the 17 people officially listed as having been abducted by the DPRK, five have returned to Japan, and the DPRK states that of the remaining 12, eight have died and four never entered the country.
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