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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, November 23, 2006

D.P.R.K. Not Ready to Give up Nuclear Arms, Official Says

Comments from a senior North Korean official indicate that the regime might not be prepared to give up its nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Nov. 21).

“Why would we abandon nuclear weapons?” Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju told reporters in Beijing. “Are you saying we conducted a nuclear test in order to abandon them?”

Kang called on the United States to lift sanctions levied against Pyongyang. North Korea plans to make that demand at preparatory meetings that would be conducted before the next round of six-party talks, according to NHK television in Japan.

The multilateral negotiations could resume in December, AP reported.

“North Korea has an obligation to give up all nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programs,” said Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary Hiroshi Suzuki. “The whole purpose of resuming the six-party talks is to make sure that we have tangible progress or concrete results” (Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Nov. 22).

Meanwhile, France yesterday released a North Korean ship after 10 days of weapons inspections, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Nov. 16).

A U.N. Security Council resolution approved in the wake of Pyongyang’s Oct. 9 nuclear test allows for inspections of ships entering or leaving North Korea.

Inspectors found no weapons on board the cement freighter An Nok Gang, which arrived Nov. 11 from Indonesia at the French-administered island of Mayotte (Agence France-Presse/The Tocqueville Connection, Nov. 21).
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