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Christopher Hill: U.S. Can’t Allow North to Develop Civilian Nuclear Program

Christopher Hill: U.S. Can’t Allow North to Develop Civilian Nuclear Program

Posted September. 12, 2005 07:02,   


Prior to attending the fourth round of six-party talks to be resumed on September 13, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill made it clear on September 9 that the U.S. can’t give North Korea the right to develop a civilian nuclear program.

At the U.S. State Department, Assistant Secretary Hill reiterated to reporters that the U.S. won’t allow the North to develop a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, saying, “I don’t see any reason why North Korea should produce additional electricity through a nuclear energy project that is technically difficult and requires huge sums of money.”

Whether or not the U.S. will grant the North the right to nuclear activity for peaceful purposes was a major issue at the last round of the talks. In particular, during a recess in the talks, the Korean government caused a controversy over a disagreement between Korea and the U.S. by publicly saying that the U.S. should at least theoretically give the North the right to a civilian nuclear program.

Assistant Secretary Hill urged North Korea to completely abolish its nuclear program, saying, “There is not a single thing that North Korea can solve with its possession of nuclear weapons.”

In addition, regarding the possibility of the success of six-party talks, Hill briefly said, “I won’t be optimistic or pessimistic.”

However, Hill expressed concern, noting, “I think the North will again raise the matters I thought to be resolved at the last round of the talks.”

Hill remarked that the fourth round of six-party talks will be resumed based on the “fourth draft” that a host nation, China, framed and revised several times after putting together the opinions of the six nations participating in the talks in early August when the fourth round of the talks was first held.

The fourth draft is two-and-a-half pages long and contains matters concerning financial aid to the North following Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization, and a method for the North’s integration into the international community.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com