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World Reacts Cautiously to US Revelations on North Korea


Officials in Russia and China are reacting cautiously to U.S. revelations that North Korea has been secretly developing nuclear weapons, saying they hope the issue can be resolved diplomatically. Both countries are also denying published reports that they have supplied nuclear materials to North Korea along with Pakistan.

Many in the international community are taking a wait-and-see approach to U.S. revelations that North Korea is building nuclear weapons.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov pointed out his country is waiting for more information before making any decisions. He said Russia expects to get more news from the United States and North Korea in the coming days.

Although Mr. Ivanov did not comment on allegations that Russia had assisted North Korea's nuclear program, a senior Russian official angrily denied the idea, saying it was not based in reality.

China reacted much the same way. A foreign ministry spokesperson described allegations that China exported nuclear technology to North Korea as nonsense. Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said China has long supported a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Pakistan is another country mentioned in news reports as possibly giving North Korea nuclear weapons technology. But Pakistani officials Friday denied these charges. President Pervez Musharraf described them as baseless.

The United States announced earlier this week that North Korean officials had admitted to secretly developing nuclear weapons. Under a 1994 agreement, North Korea was supposed to give up its nuclear weapons program in return for international assistance building two nuclear reactors.

Japan and South Korea financed most of the cost of the reactors. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday if North Korea wants normal ties with Japan, it must abide by international agreements governing nuclear weapons.

The Japanese leader said the nuclear weapons question would become a top issue when officials from Japan and North Korea meet at the end of October to discuss normalizing relations between the countries.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are visiting China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Britain, and France to mobilize support to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

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