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South Korea Sceptical On Nuclear Deal
South Korean Defence Minister Kim Jang-soo.<br><br><b>South Korea calls for closer defence ties with France<br></b>Seoul (AFP) March 18 - South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun called Sunday for closer defence ties with France at his meeting with visiting French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie. At the meeting, Roh said the two countries should step up efforts to boost military cooperation, his office said in a statement. Roh and Alliot-Marie also discussed regional security such as North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and inter-Korean relations, it said. Alliot-Marie, who arrived here Friday, expressed hope that her visit would promote
South Korean Defence Minister Kim Jang-soo.

South Korea calls for closer defence ties with France
Seoul (AFP) March 18 - South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun called Sunday for closer defence ties with France at his meeting with visiting French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie. At the meeting, Roh said the two countries should step up efforts to boost military cooperation, his office said in a statement. Roh and Alliot-Marie also discussed regional security such as North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and inter-Korean relations, it said. Alliot-Marie, who arrived here Friday, expressed hope that her visit would promote "military exchanges and cooperation in defence industries" between the two countries, it said. The French minister visited Panmunjon, a truce village in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, before departing for China on the last leg of her tour of Northeast Asia.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) March 16, 2007
South Korean Defence Minister Kim Jang-soo expressed "scepticism" over the North Korean nuclear deal, his visiting French counterpart Michele Alliot-Marie said after a meeting here Friday. "I found him sceptical on the chances to really arrive at results with the North Koreans," Alliot-Marie told reporters. She noted however that it was "not necessarily the attitude of the whole South Korean government of which certain members are probably more optimistic."

The French minister's visit comes at the time of intense efforts to implement an agreement signed in Beijing on February 13 under which Pyongyang promised to begin dismantling its nuclear programme within two months in exchange for energy aid and diplomatic concessions.

A new series of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear programme is due to start on Monday in the Chinese capital.

According to Alliot-Marie's entourage, Kim asserted that there was "not much confidence between the two Koreas" who therefore "need time."

Touching on this issue and the rising might of the Chinese military, whose budget will increase by nearly 18 percent to about 45 billion dollars this year, the French minister indicated that her South Korean counterpart had insisted on the need to establish "transparency and confidence."

"It is normal that a country as large as China is preoccupied with having an army of this strength," Alliot-Marie said, repeating her call for "transparency" so "there are no suspicions over the Chinese intentions and that this goes in the direction of peace".

The minister, who arrived Friday in Seoul from Japan, is also due to meet South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, who favours reconciliation with the North.

She will also visit Panmunjon, in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas before departing on Sunday for China on the last leg of her tour of Northeast Asia.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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