Posted August. 12, 2005 03:04,
Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who also chairs the standing committee of the NSC, said yesterday, North Korea should have the right to use its nuclear programs peacefully and its claim of the construction of light-water reactors can be also regarded as its general right.
In an interview with Media Daum, an Internet media outlet, on the same day, Chung admitted the differences between the viewpoints of South Korea and the U.S., saying, Washington has claimed that it cant guarantee Pyongyang the right to civilian nuclear programs on the grounds that Pyongyang broke the 1994 Geneva Agreement and has sought to develop nuclear weapons, but Seoul has a different position.
Given that the Norths stubborn claim to the right to use its nuclear programs for peaceful purposes is the crux of the latest six-party talks, Chungs remark is stirring up a controversy since his remark can be interpreted that Seoul sides with Pyongyang.
On top of that, Chung said, The knotty issue over Pyongyangs assertion to the right to civilian nuclear programs can be concluded through discussions and talks, adding, Seoul has insisted that if Pyongyang rejoins the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and undergoes International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, it will be able to enjoy its corresponding rights as a member nation of the NPT.
Earlier, in a press conference at the Foreign Press Center in Washington on August 10, Christopher Hill, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, insisted that since the Norths claim to the right to use its nuclear programs peacefully is an inappropriate agenda which runs counter to the theme of six-party talks, the North should accept the dismantling all of its nuclear programs.