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S. Korea calls for firm, united global response to N.K. nukes

The international community should come together to pressure North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons programs that pose a major threat to global safety and security, a ranking South Korean official said Thursday.

Speaking at a global nuclear conference in Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, Second Vice Foreign Minister Min Dong-seok urged the participants from 86 nations and international organizations to deal sternly with the communist state for pursuing nuclear weapons programs.

“The international community must show North Korea that it is facing a unified and resolute front, urging it to abandon all nuclear programs, including the UEP (uranium enrichment program), and cease all related activities in full compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874,” Min said during his keynote speech. A transcript of his speech was released to the press.
Second Vice Foreign Minister Min Dong-seok speaks at the plenary meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in Daejeon on Thursday. (Yonhap News)
Second Vice Foreign Minister Min Dong-seok speaks at the plenary meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in Daejeon on Thursday. (Yonhap News)

“In particular, the international community needs to declare in one voice that North Korea’s pursuit of the UEP is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and contrary to the 2005 Joint Statement.”

The U.N. resolutions, adopted after Pyongyang conducted missile and nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, place an overall arms embargo and financial sanctions on the communist regime. The 2005 agreement, meanwhile, was signed among the member nations of the six-party talks to dismantle the North’s nuclear programs in exchange for political and economic benefits. The six-way forum involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States has been stalled since December 2008.

“Alongside our efforts to deter North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, my government will also work toward resuming dialogue,” the vice minister said. “With inter-Korean dialogue as an essential starting point, we will cooperate with our six-party talks partners on securing actions from Pyongyang that prove its sincerity and preparedness toward denuclearization.”

Inter-Korean relations have soured following North Korea’s two deadly attacks that killed 50 South Koreans last year. Defying Seoul’s calls for an apology and a sincerity of attitude, Pyongyang has continued to blast the South Korean government and threatened war.

The vice foreign minister also pledged Seoul’s support for global efforts to counter nuclear terrorism, saying Thursday’s plenary meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT) in Daejeon and the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul next March are examples of South Korea’s contributions.

“It is never enough to stress the importance of preventing and countering nuclear terrorism, both through strong national measures and international cooperation,” he said. 

(Yonhap News)
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