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Khan’s Confession May Affect 6-way Talks

Posted February. 05, 2004 23:33,   


The public confession of Pakistan’s nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan’s transferring of nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran is likely to affect the six-way talks on North Korea’s nuclear issue.

Khan’s confession will help figure out how far the uranium-enrichment program of North Korea has progressed.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Khan’s information will determine whether North Korea’s assertion of already having nuclear weapons is a truth or a mere bluff, which will be a watershed in nuclear proliferation.

U.S. intelligence authorities have suspected Pakistan of offering uranium enrichment technology to North Korea in exchange for North Korea’s long-range missile technology, and with the transferred technology, North Korea may be able to complete its uranium enrichment program within one or two years and have the capability to build at least two nuclear weapons a year.

The U.S. has cited the assertion made by Pyongyang when James Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, visited North Korea in October 2002 as evidence of uranium program. There have been controversies, however, over whether it is true. North Korea has denied the uranium enrichment program. China has also had doubts about what the U.S. said.

The U.S. now has the best bargaining chip to pressure North Korea at the nuclear talks. In an interview with Reuters, Gary Samore, director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said if Khan’s confession is true, North Korea has nuclear weapons that can be delivered on a Rodong Missile which would reach Tokyo. That’s why North Korea agreed to hold the second round of six-party talks, some say.

A South Korean official said North Korea has soften its stance as the investigation into Dr. Khan continues after Libya’s decision to abandon its WMD program in December last year, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.