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NK Demands Security Guarantee in Return For Settlement of Nuclear Issue

NK Demands Security Guarantee in Return For Settlement of Nuclear Issue

Posted April. 23, 2003 22:15,   


The United States and North Korea kicked off negotiations April 23 at the Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing aimed at resolving a half-year long dispute over Pyongyang`s nuclear development efforts.

In the meeting of the three nations, which lasted six hours, the U.S. called on the North to immediately abandon its nuclear program through a verifiable means. However, North Korea maintained that the U.S. must first stop pushing ahead with its hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

North Korea`s chief negotiator Ri Gun, vice director general of the defense ministry, showed the North Korean government`s tough stance on the US saying: “We have learned from the Iraqi war that North Korea should have a powerful military deterrent to protect its national security and sovereignty from outside forces.”

Chief U.S. negotiator James Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs emphasized the need for including South Korea and Japan in a multilateral dialogue to discuss comprehensive measures to solve the nuclear issue and to provide the North with financial assistance.

In response to the U.S. demand, the North insisted that after resolving pressing issues facing the U.S. and the North, including its nuclear issue, it would consider discussing the inclusion of South Korea and Japan into expanded talks, sources reported.

However, the North Korean delegation said that if the U.S. agrees to guarantee security for the North Korean government, the North would be willing to ease regional concerns over its nuclear ambitions. The shift in North Korea`s stance is now drawing keen attention from the international community including its neighbors, China, Japan, and South Korea.

Representatives from the three nations on April 22 held a working-level meeting at a secret location in downtown Beijing to discuss ways of preceding the three way talks before the first round of the meeting, sources reported.

President Roh Moo-hyun reiterated Wednesday his position that the North Korean nuclear issue should be settled peacefully "regardless of dialogue format."

"Whether a dialogue format to discuss the issue is multilateral or bilateral is not what counts,” said Roh, commenting on Wednesday`s launch of trilateral talks between the United States, North Korea and China in Beijing, to security-related ministers and aides. "What is important now is that the talks go ahead successfully.”

“The U.S. delegation is planning to brief South Korean and Japanese officials three separate times while in Beijing on developments during the three-way talks,” said Lee Jong-suk, vice secretary general of the National Security Council. “After the completion of the meeting, James Kelly will fly to Seoul to comment on the talks.”