Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

North Korea Switches Focus, Hopes For Nuclear Talks Diminish

Washington believes that North Korea may have two crude nuclear devices. Experts say it may have reprocessed enough plutonium for half a dozen more since the standoff erupted and it kicked out international monitors and pulled out of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.
Seoul (AFP) Apr 01, 2005
Hopes for a speedy resumption of six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons drive faded last Friday after Pyongyang declared itself a nuclear power on a par with Washington and said its new goal was regional disarmament.

Analysts said that the North Korean statement that nuclear crisis talks should be turned into a disarmament forum injected doubt into an already complicated search for a resolution to a standoff that dates back to October

North Korea said last Thursday that six-way talks were no longer adequate, because while the negotiations had been going on, it had developed from a country seeking nuclear weapons to a full-fledged nuclear power.

Washington still thinks North Korea should abandon its nuclear ambitions, the White House spokesman said Friday, implicitly rejecting the latest conditions Pyongyang set out for talks to resume.

"We have a proposal that we put forward at the last round of talks ... we believe it's important for North Korea to come back to the six-party talks so that we can talk about how we move forward on that proposal," spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

"We have no preconditions for the talks," he said. "North Korea needs to make a strategic decision, and that decision is to abandon their nuclear weapons ambition.

Three rounds of talks bringing together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have been held, with the first round in August 2003 and the last taking place in June last year in Beijing. North Korea failed to show up for a fourth round, scheduled for September 2004.

"Now that the DPRK (North Korea) has become a full-fledged nuclear weapons state, the six-party talks should be disarmament talks where the participating countries negotiate the issue on an equal footing,", North Korea said in a foreign ministry statement released by its official Korean Central News Agency.

At the core of the crisis is Washington's own arsenal of nuclear weapons, according to the North Koreans, arguing that it was because of the threat of preemptive nuclear attack from Washington that North Korea was driven to go nuclear in the first place. So those US nuclear weapons should be on the table at any future talks.

And those talks should focus on ways "to completely remove the US threat of nukes and a nuclear war from the peninsula and its vicinity," the statement said.

In an interview with Yonhap news agency, Han Song-Ryol, deputy chief of North Korea's mission to the United Nations, said the statement was also meant to underline the need for a peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

"We have been persistent in our position that the armistice agreement must be replaced with a peace treaty during the past rounds of six-party talks but this demand has been consistently ignored by the US side," he said.

Since North Korea failed to turn up to the last round of nuclear talks scheduled for Beijing in September, it has been slowly ratcheting up the nuclear standoff, declaring last month that it has made nuclear weapons, that it intended to make more, and finally that it had succeeded in building more bombs.

"With the latest statement, the issue looks as though it will go on, and on, and on," said a Western diplomat based in Seoul.

Washington believes that North Korea may have two crude nuclear devices. Experts say it may have reprocessed enough plutonium for half a dozen more since the standoff erupted and it kicked out international monitors and pulled out of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

Until now, North Korea has been focusing its nuclear negotiations strategy on gradually raising the price that Washington would be prepared to pay it to eliminate its nuclear weapons, according to analysts.

The latest statement suggests to some that North Korea is playing the same game but hoping to increase the pressure further on the United States following a visit to the region this month by new US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

She said that Washington was running out of patience with North Korea's stalling, and may look at "other options," a possible reference to reporting the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

Yun Duk-Min, an analyst at the state Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul said North Korea was after a bigger economic and diplomatic game than was on offer.

"North Korea seeks to make its possession of nuclear arms a fait accompli and wants to be accepted as a nuclear power like Pakistan," he said. "It wants to gain economic and diplomatic rewards by cutting the nuclear issue down very fine like a salami."

North Korea has never tested a nuclear device, according to officials and experts. Hard evidence from North Korea, one of the world's most secretive regimes, is difficult to come by and some experts are sceptical about its claims to possess nuclear weapons.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

Related Links
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

US Has No Intention Of Attacking North Korea, Says Rice
Seoul (AFP) Mar 20, 2005
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday Washington had no intention of attacking North Korea, and urged the communist state to drop its nuclear weapons ambitions.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.