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South Korea Shies Away From US-Led Cargo Inspections

Czechs foiled N.Korean moves to buy nuclear weapons technology: report
Prague (AFP) Nov 11 - The Czech security service, BIS, foiled several attempts by North Korea last year to buy technology that would have helped it produce nuclear weapons, Czech public television, CT1, reported on Saturday. "Our service last year stopped three exports which were destined for North Korea. Specifically, they were special machine tools, the pieces themselves and spare parts," security service spokesman Jan Subrt told the broadcaster.

North Korea is interested in obtaining special machine tools because it can not currently construct a small nuclear weapon and delivery system capable of striking a target far beyond its borders, the broadcaster said quoting experts. It is only capable of producing a large nuclear weapon at the moment, it added.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions have become the focus of worldwide attention following its testing of a nuclear bomb on October 9. The test has resulted in stepped up attempts to bring the closed Communist country back to the negotiating table. Pyongyang originally committed itself last year to giving up its nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees, the normalization of relations, energy and other aid.

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Nov 12, 2006
South Korea decided to shy away from a US-led international initiative to stop and inspect suspicious cargo, to avoid possible clashes with North Korea, a top politician said Sunday. The decision was reached Saturday at a joint meeting of top officials of the government and the ruling Uri Party, said Kim Won-Wung, a Uri Party lawmaker who chairs parliament's unification, foreign affairs and trade committee.

South Korea, a close US ally, was under growing pressure to expand its roles in Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) drills, following the communist country's October 9 nuclear test.

North Korea November 1 confirmed it would return to six-party talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons programmes, on condition the issue of lifting US financial sanctions imposed against it was settled during the negotiations.

"We have reached a conclusion that we support the spirit of PSI, but we should confine ourselves to our current roles in the drills," Kim Won-Wung told AFP.

"Now that Pyongyang has decided to return to six-party talks, we don't have to take a step that wouldn't be helpful for creating an atmosphere for dialogue," he said.

The North denounced South Korea for sending a government delegation of three observers to PSI drills off Bahrain late last month, arguing the drills "constitute part of the sanctions, blockade and military pressure".

The South has sent observers to the sea drills instead of sending ships or troops to join the maneuvers.

Officials in Seoul said South Korea's active participation in the PSI exercises could lead to armed clashes with North Korea, with which the South has been technically at war since a bloody 1950-1953 conflict.

The two Koreas had several sailors killed and ships sunk in clashes in disputed waters in 1999 and 2002.

The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution to broaden sanctions, including cargo inspections, against North Korea for its nuclear test.

North Korea has since told South Korea not to enforce the sanctions, which Pyongyang said were tantamount to a declaration of war.

Previous drills involved high-speed maritime chases and commandos rappelling onto vessels from helicopters or clambering aboard from fast boats, with inspectors in chemical suits searching suspect cargo.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Iranian Foreign Minister Says Uranium Plan Still On Agenda For Moscow Meeting
Tehran (RIA Novosti) Nov 12, 2006
Iran's foreign minister said Saturday his visit to Moscow for talks on Tehran's nuclear program is still on the agenda. Manouchehr Mottaki's visit planned for Thursday was postponed to give way to the Islamic Republic's influential chief nuclear negotiator. Ali Larijani is currently in Moscow holding talks with Russia's leadership, while the countries involved in the long-running dispute aimed at dissuading Iran from enriching uranium are discussing sanctions against the defiant Islamic Republic.

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