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U.S., “Insistence on Nuclear Arsenal Means Isolation for North Korea”

U.S., “Insistence on Nuclear Arsenal Means Isolation for North Korea”

Posted February. 11, 2005 22:48,   


After North Korea declared its possession of a nuclear arsenal and the indefinite suspension of the six-way talks, the South Korean government warned on February 11, “If the North makes further moves, things could get worse.”

Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lee Tae-shik gave those words of warning at a meeting for Uri Party executive committee members held at the party’s headquarters on the morning on the same day. He explained, “(Further moves indicate the situation in which) they either extract more plutonium from nuclear reactors in Yongbyon or sneak the plutonium out of North Korea. The moves can include any action that goes beyond the present stage of matters.”

Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, who is on a visit to the U.S., met with correspondents and said, “We need to pay keen attention to the fact that the announcement (of its nuclear possession) came from the regime’s own foreign ministry. We will define the situation as ‘something unprecedented’ and closely cooperate with allies such as the U.S. and Japan.”

Minister Ban noted, “I notice that in the statement, North Korea did not mention any change in its policy direction of peaceful settlement by means of dialogue for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. North Korea must get back to the negotiating table of six nations as soon as possible to consult on the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue,” he urged.

Foreign Minister Ban will have a talk with Vice President Dick Cheney on February 11 and with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the morning on February 14. After these meetings, he will also visit Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to discuss countermeasures to the North’s unexpected announcement of its nuclear capability for both South Korea and the U.S.

On February 10, State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli at a regular briefing answered the question asking whether the American policy direction toward North Korea will change after the North Korean government’s statement, warning, “I don’t feel that it’s necessary to review the matter. North Korea’s declaration of its nuclear possession and absence from the talks will only result in more isolation for the regime.”

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said on the same day, “We have been hearing that kind of assertion (from North Korea). America will continue pressing on with the six-party talks.”

Meanwhile, the government plans to carry on with its diplomatic effort to resume the six-party talks at the earliest possible date. It has decided to have high-level talks with the U.S., to be organized by Minister Ban, and to promote a discussion among representatives of six-way talks from South Korea, America and Japan within this month.