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North Korea insists on peaceful nuclear program


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North Korea insists on peaceful nuclear program

The Associated Press

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2005

 

BEIJING North Korea on Tuesday insisted it has a right to a peaceful nuclear program, dimming prospects for progress at international talks on ending the communist nation's atomic weapons program.

 

Envoys were arriving in Beijing for the resumption later Tuesday of six-nation talks on the issue. The latest round, the fourth since 2003, broke for a recess last month after a record 13 straight days of talks failed to yield an agreement.

 

The North's demands for a civilian nuclear program have become a sticking point, with Washington strongly resisting the notion, saying North Korea's record proves it can't be trusted with any atomic project.

 

North Korean chief negotiator Kim Kye Gwan said before he left for Beijing that his country will not tolerate any obstruction to its right to a peaceful nuclear program, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

 

''This right is neither awarded nor needs to be approved by others,'' Kim said in Pyongyang. ''If the United States tries to set obstacle to (North Korea's) using this right, we can utterly not accept that.''

 

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said Monday upon his arrival in Beijing that he wasn't sure how long the talks would last, but would know more after contacts with the North Koreans. No one-on-one meetings between the sides were planned, but Hill said he expected to speak with the North at a dinner Tuesday evening for all delegates.

 

''I know that my delegation is coming here to work, we know pretty precisely what the issues are. I hope the (North Korean) delegation has also done some homework,'' Hill said as he arrived at his hotel.

 

U.S. and North Korean diplomats met twice in New York over the past month, but Hill said there hadn't been progress on resolving the impasse beyond gaining an understanding of the North's position.

 

''Although I must tell you that their position does seem to be evolving a little,'' Hill said without elaborating.

 

Hill also said he would meet with the head Chinese negotiator before the talks begin.

 

South Korea's chief negotiator called for envoys to be open-minded at the talks.

 

''If each party can be a little more flexible in its position there will be good results, but if they stick to their current position, good results will be hard to expect,'' South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon said as he arrived in Beijing.

 

Japan and Russia are also participating in the negotiations.

 

Last week in Washington, Hill reiterated a set of measures — including energy aid offered by South Korea — that he said would make it unnecessary for North Korea ''to go and develop additional capacity, especially through such very difficult and extremely expensive projects as nuclear energy.''

 

The North ''has had trouble keeping peaceful programs peaceful,'' Hill said Friday.

 

The latest nuclear standoff was sparked in late 2002 after U.S. officials accused North Korea of running a secret uranium enrichment program in violation of an earlier deal in which the North agreed to stop weapons development in exchange for energy aid.

 

The North has since denied having a uranium enrichment program, which would provide another way to create radioactive material for bombs than its publicly acknowledged plutonium program. On Tuesday, the North again said allegations of the uranium program were ''a concoction cooked up by the United States.''

 

''It is a very haughty, politically motivated act for the United States to circulate this kind of false view while entering into the fourth round of six-party talks,'' the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

 

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf told The New York Times in an interview released late Monday that he believed that North Korea had obtained ''probably a dozen'' centrifuges — key equipment required to enrich uranium — from a proliferation ring headed by a Pakistani nuclear expert.

 

However, hundreds of centrifuges are required to enrich enough uranium for a bomb, and some experts have said North Korea has acknowledged researching how to enrich uranium to lower levels that could be used to generate power and remedy its electricity shortages.

 

Musharraf also said the results of nearly two years of interrogations of A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb program, didn't yield any evidence that Khan gave North Korea a Chinese-originated design to build a nuclear weapon, The Times said.

 

The North has insisted it needs nuclear weapons to deter a U.S. invasion, despite repeated assurances from Washington that it has no intention to attack.

 

Source

 

Hahahaha peaceful nuclear

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