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“NK Nuclear Program May Trigger Asian Nuclear Arms Race”

“NK Nuclear Program May Trigger Asian Nuclear Arms Race”

Posted April. 15, 2004 22:31,   


U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney warned on April 15 that North Korea could spark a new Asian arms race, expressing his apprehension as well about the possibility of North Korea providing nuclear technology to international terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda.

“Time is not necessarily on our side,¡° he said in his lecture at Shanghai`s Fudan University before flying to Seoul.

Cheney said that North Korea is one of the most serious encumbrance in Northeast Asia and that the United States was ¡°greatly encouraged¡° that China had taken a leading role in efforts to persuade North Korea to have a complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear program through the six-party talk.

Cheney reiterated U.S.’ support on “One China” policy about the heated issue, but he emphasized that the most important matter is that China and Taiwan hold a dialogue and that the U.S. “opposes unilateral action on either side of the (Taiwan) Strait to change things.”

Meanwhile, the vice president arrived in Korea on April 15 for an official visit.

On April 16, the vice president will hold a meeting with Korea’s acting president, Prime Minister Goh Kun, at the official residence of the prime minister at Samchung-dong, Seoul. He is also scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Bahn Ki-moon at the hotel where he will stay his visit.

Vice President Cheney will hold discussion on topics including North Korea’s nuclear issue, additional troops to be sent to Iraq, relocation of Yongsan army base, and the realignment of United States Forces Korea during his stay.

The result of this conference is especially anticipated as it comes soon after a report by the New York Times of the United States about a Pakistani scientist who claims to have seen three nuclear devices in an underground nuclear facility in the rural area of North Korea five years ago. American media reported recently that conservative Vice President Cheney is expected to request China and South Korea to press North Korea through six-nation talk on the basis of the report by the Pakistani scientists mentioned on the article of the New York Times. Vice President Cheney visited Tokyo and Shanghai from April 12 to 14 prior to his arrival in Korea.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com