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Gov’t Delays Announcement of PSI Participation

Posted April. 16, 2009 07:28,   


The government will postpone the announcement of its participation in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative to late this week.

A source at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae said, “President Lee Myung-bak questioned if it’s the right time for the announcement of (South) Korea’s full-fledged participation in the PSI. The announcement will be postponed for a while.”

“The government has not changed its decision to participate in the PSI. President Lee just wants to choose the date of announcement more carefully.”

The delay apparently reflects Seoul’s wariness over recent developments. Circumstances surrounding the Korean Peninsula have rapidly worsened in the wake of North Korea’s hard-line stance after the U.N. Security Council denounced the North’s rocket launch April 5.

Another factor is the safety of three South Korean and American hostages held in North Korea.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also said Pyongyang ordered U.N. nuclear inspectors to remove seals and cameras from its Yongbyon nuclear site and leave the country as quickly as possible.

A U.S. denuclearization team and agency inspectors had stayed in the North since November 2007 to denuclearize the Yongbyon facility.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs blasted the North for its decision, saying Pyongyang’s threat to withdraw from the six-party talks and restart its nuclear program is “a serious step in the wrong direction.”

The Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun said Washington will report to the sanctions committee of the Security Council sanctions on 11 North Korean companies including Dancheon Commercial Bank and Korean Mining and Development Corp., which have played a critical role in the North’s export of ballistic missile equipment.

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