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CIA Chief Says North Korea Not Nuclear Power

Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden.
By Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Mar 28, 2007
Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden has said the United States does not recognise North Korea as a nuclear power because its first atomic test last October was a failure, a report said Wednesday.

The US position was made clear when Hayden met South Korean Defence Minister Kim Jang-Soo on Tuesday, the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper said.

"The United States does not recognise North Korea as a nuclear power, because its nuclear test last year was a failure," Hayden was quoted by a South Korean defence source as telling Kim.

The source also said Hayden stressed the importance of exchanging intelligence on North Korea between Seoul and Washington.

"The United States has a large amount of intelligence on North Korea and South Korea has many experts who understand well North Korean sentiments and culture," Hayden was quoted as saying.

"US-South Korean intelligence exchange is crucial to analyse North Korea's decisions."

The defence ministry confirmed the Hayden-Kim meeting but refused to comment on what was discussed. The US embassy had no comment on the CIA chief's visit.

US officials said last October that air samples had confirmed a nuclear test but that the explosion yield was less than one kiloton. South Korean officials also said they believe the test was only a partial success. Hayden arrived Monday for a three-day visit, Yonhap news agency said, and met top intelligence officials to share information on North Korea's nuclear activities.

He arrived from Tokyo on Monday and was scheduled to leave for Beijing on Wednesday, it said.

Six-party talks on scrapping the North's nuclear programme have been underway since 2003. They group the United States, China, the two Koreas, Russia and Japan.

Under a February 13 agreement the North should should shut down and seal its plutonium-producing Yongbyon reactor and other plants by April 14 in exchange for energy aid.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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