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South Korea Sees No Escalation In North Korean Nuclear Issue

The members of the six-party talks.
by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Jan 08, 2007
South Korea sees little danger of an escalation in North Korea's nuclear programme in the near future, Finance Minister Kwon O-Kyu said in an interview Monday with a German newspaper. "We believe things are improving slowly but surely," Kwon, who is also a deputy prime minister, said in the Handelsblatt business daily. North Korea conducted its first underground nuclear test on October 9, sparking worldwide concern and United Nations sanctions.

Pyongyang returned last month to the six-party talks with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea about disbanding its nuclear weapons programme in return for security and diplomatic guarantees and energy aid. The talks in Beijing ended without a breakthrough.

Kwon said: "Progress in the six-party talks will be slow because of North Korea's reckless policies, but we don't believe there will be a further worsening of the situation."

He acknowledged however that "it is difficult to anticipate North Korea's behaviour".

US television network ABC reported last week that North Korea appeared to have prepared for a second blast, but the South Korean foreign ministry official said that although activity had been detected at the site of the first test, there were no signs yet of preparations for a fresh explosion.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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North Would Not Dare Conduct New Atomic Test Says South Korean Minister
Seoul (AFP) Jan 08, 2007
South Korea's unification minister, Seoul's top policymaker on North Korea, predicted Monday that Pyongyang would not dare conduct a second nuclear test because of the severe consequences it would face. Lee Jae-Joung told Yonhap news agency there were no signs that Pyongyang, which conducted its first underground nuclear test on October 9, would stage another. "At present, no signs have been found yet," Lee said.

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