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Former US Policy Honchos Call For World Free Of Nuclear Arms

China says Iran official to discuss nuclear issues
Beijing (AFP) Jan 04 - Iran's top nuclear negotiator will discuss with Chinese leaders his country's nuclear programs during a two-day visit to China that started earlier Thursday, officials said. "(Ali) Larijani will meet with Chinese leaders... to exchange opinions on bilateral issues, Iran's nuclear issues, and other regional and international topics of common concern," China's foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular press conference.

Larijani, head of Iran's national security council, will deliver a message from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Chinese President Hu Jintao during the visit, according to Iran's state news agency IRNA. Liu declined to disclose further details.

China supports Iran's right to a nuclear program but as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council voted for a resolution that imposed sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear industry and ballistic missile program. Russia and China -- which both have strong economic interests in Iran -- worked to water down drafts of the Security Council resolution and Beijing has since called for more talks on the nuclear issue.

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 04, 2007
Four top former US foreign policy officials, including ex-secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, called for a world free of nuclear weapons in an opinion piece Thursday. The article, which appears in the Wall Street Journal, is also signed by former secretary of defense William Perry and Sam Nunn, a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Washington heavyweights say the United States should launch a major effort towards banning all nuclear weapons.

Citing nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, the officials say the world "is now on the precipice of a new and dangerous nuclear era."

Aside from the threat of terrorists using nuclear weapons, "unless urgent new actions are taken, the US soon will be compelled to enter a new nuclear era that will be more precarious, psychologically disorienting, and economically even more costly than was the Cold War deterrence," they wrote.

In the lengthy article the ex-officials recommend a series of measures that include strong support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other non-proliferation efforts.

But more has to be done, they suggested.

"We believe that a major effort should be launched by the United States to produce a positive answer through concrete stages," they wrote.

Proposed measures include:

- Increasing the launch warning time on deployed nuclear weapons to reduce the danger of an accidental or unauthorized use

- Decreasing the number of nuclear weapons among all nations

- Eliminating short-range nuclear weapons, designed to be deployed with front-line troops

- Providing the highest possible security around the world for all nuclear weapons, weapons-usable plutonium, and highly enriched uranium

- Phasing out the use of highly enriched uranium in civil commerce

- Removing weapons-usable uranium from research facilities around the world.

"Reassertion of the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and practical measures toward achieving that goal would be, and would be perceived as, a bold initiative consistent with America's moral heritage," the group wrote.

"Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair or urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible," the article reads.

Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977 under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford; Shultz, was secretary of state from 1982 to 1989 under Ronald Reagan; Perry was secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997 under Bill Clinton; and Nunn was senator from 1972 to 1996.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Is There A Power Shift In North Korea Underway
Seoul (UPI) Jan 04, 2007
Will North Korean leader Kim Jong Il bring a change to the country's power structure dominated by aged revolutionary leaders in their 70s or 80s? This is the question of the moment following the death of the country's Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun at age of 78. But possibility seems not so high because Kim has heavily relied on aged revolutionary leaders who helped him inherit his father's leadership in the communist world's first dynastic power transfer.

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