World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


S. Korea Calls For Flexibility Over Nuclear Talks


By Kurt Achin
Seoul

S. Korea Calls for 'Flexibility' as N. Korea Nuclear Talks Hit Snag

South Korea is calling for "flexibility" in the amount and type of information North Korea is due to release about its nuclear programs. Six-nation talks on the North's programs are unlikely to reconvene as expected this month, in an apparent snag over what should be included in the North Korean declaration. A sense of urgency is building among officials in the South Korean capital.

A spokesman for South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said Thursday that Seoul would like to see six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear capabilities reconvene "as soon as possible."

The talks, involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States, were widely expected to resume in the Chinese capital this month. The next topic of business for the talks is to review a declaration by Pyongyang of all its nuclear facilities, weapons, and materials - the latest step in a multi-stage agreement aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear capabilities altogether.

However, South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon warned Thursday that the talks now run the risk of falling apart. He says the six-nation dialogue "sits at a very critical juncture of stably moving ahead or being crippled."

Song says the dialogue partners were aiming for the end of the year as a deadline for a formal review of the North's nuclear declaration. Now, he says the six parties will have to show "flexibility."

Song was quoted in local media as saying the United States is ready to move ahead in the talks, and the process will move forward as soon as North Korea builds some confidence and "admits what it has done in the past."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the senior U.S. delegate to the six party talks, says Washington has "very good evidence" North Korea obtained uranium enrichment equipment and technology from Pakistan. Hill says North Korea's declaration must account for Pyongyang's uranium-related activities, which the North has never publicly admitted.

Hill said North Korea must submit at least a draft declaration by the end of the year.

Dan Pinkston, North Asia analyst for the International Crisis Group, says North Korea's apparent reluctance to admit to the uranium-based program may be holding up the declaration.

"I think on the uranium enrichment side there's a lot of explaining to do, and they can't dismiss a lot of the procurement activities in the past," he said.

Hill was in North Korea earlier this week for a visit to the North's main nuclear facility at Yongbyon, which Pyongyang has been disabling as part of the six-nation diplomacy.

Experts say even if the North's nuclear production facilities are dismantled, however, it will be difficult to account for and destroy all of its existing stocks of nuclear materials and weapons.

Apart from the nuclear diplomacy, North-South Korean ties have been moving forward briskly. South Korea's Unification Ministry confirmed Thursday that the South has completed a transfer of 400,000 tons of rice to the impoverished North.

North-South cargo trains are expected to begin rolling next week through the North Korean city of Kaesong, where hundreds of South Koreans also began scheduling package tours this week. High-level inter-Korean talks to advance a wide range of new North-South projects are wrapping up here in Seoul Thursday.

ENDS

More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news