South Korea's chief diplomat says a diplomatic process aimed at getting
rid of North Korea's nuclear weapons is at risk if Pyongyang continues
on its current path. As VOA's Kurt Achin reports from Seoul, the
North's moves to resume activity at its main nuclear reactor could end
up isolating and impoverishing the country even further.
Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said Friday North Korea is
putting at risk the diplomatic effort that has been some five years in
Referring to a six-nation talks process aimed at
ending North Korea's nuclear weapons, Yu says we are in a difficult
situation where we may have to return to square one.
South Korea has joined the United States, Russia, China, and Japan in
offering the North incentives to end its nuclear weapons programs.
North Korea signed an agreement last year to declare those programs and
began disabling its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon, with much
broader disarmament steps to come in the future.
month North Korea said it was in the process of restarting Yongbyon,
and it ejected international inspectors and their surveillance
equipment from the plant's reprocessing facility.
Foreign Minister Yu says the North's actions may have a political angle.
says it is possible that the North's decision to reverse its
disablement is a strategy linked to the upcoming U.S. presidential
Michael Green is a former national security advisor to
President Bush, and is now affiliated with Republican presidential
candidate John McCain.
He told a forum in Seoul Friday he thinks
it is very unlikely there will be progress in the six nation talks
until the U.S. election is resolved. He also says there is a good
chance North Korea is considering steps to take to try to raise its
bargaining leverage with the new administration.
they may try to move toward reprocessing of the remaining spent fuel
rods... and they may also try rebuilding their five megawatt reactor
and other facilities. And I believe we should signal to them very
clearly that if they go down that path... the situation for them will
be worse," he said.
North Korea tested a nuclear weapon two
years ago, causing unanimous support for a strict sanctions resolution
at the United Nations. Green points out the international community
has not seriously implemented the resolution, because the North
returned to talks. He says that could change, if North Korea continues
to reverse its nuclear promises.