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U.S. Wants Multi-Lateral Talks with North Korea - 2003-06-10


The United States says it will not accept the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula by North Korea, but stressed Tuesday it wants to have multi-lateral talks with North Korea to resolve the issue. Brian Purchia has the latest.

U.S. officials are calling for a diplomatic solution to North Korea’s nuclear plans. This as Pyongyang's news agency said Monday North Korea needs nuclear weapons, so it can reduce the size of its million-man army and use the funds for economic development.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, visiting Japan, Tuesday, says prospects are fair for eventual multi-lateral talks with North Korea.

U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE RICHARD ARMITAGE
“I think those countries which have the most equities involved should rightfully sit at the table and listen to the North Korean views and put our views on the table to the North Koreans so I think eventually we'll have those talks."

North Korea, the United States and China last held talks in Beijing in April. Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan, Tuesday called on all sides to exercise restraint.

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN KONG QUAN
"We support a non-nuclear Korean peninsula, and we also support maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula. We hope for the time being both sides will not adopt any actions that may further escalate the situation."

In related news, Japan barred a North Korean cargo ship Tuesday from leaving port because of safety violations, this amid efforts by Tokyo and Washington to crack down on illicit commerce with the communist country and rein in its nuclear programs.

The beefed-up security comes days after a North Korean ferry canceled plans to dock in northern Japan in the face of Tokyo's pledge to scrutinize that ship stem-to-stern for customs, immigration, health and safety problems.

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