BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 07:02 GMT 08:02 UK
Koreas spar over nuclear issue
Jeong Se-Hyun (L) with Kim Ryong-Song
Smiles could not disguise the tension
South Korea says it has urged North Korea to scrap its alleged nuclear weapons programme immediately and open a dialogue with the United States on the issue.

The first meeting in three days of scheduled talks between the two sides broke up after about 55 minutes with the leader of the South's delegation expressing his "deep concern" at the nuclear issue right at the outset.


We believe your concerns will evaporate should we hold our hands tighter and move on

Kim Ryong-Song
head of Northern delegation
"My heart is as gloomy as a cloudy sky," Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun said in Pyongyang.

Washington is reportedly preparing to scrap a 1994 agreement with the North to supply fuel oil and build two light-water reactors after Pyongyang allegedly said it had "nullified" its commitment to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

The report on the New York Times website follows an announcement by the US on Saturday that it is working with South Korea and other regional powers towards the "immediate and visible dismantling" of the North Korean programme.

Our Washington correspondent Jon Leyne reports that a US withdrawal would be a risky strategy, threatening to isolate North Korea even further.

Northern assurances

The Korean talks had originally been scheduled to cover co-operation between the two states.

The head of the North's delegation, Kim Ryong-Song, tried to assure the South that the issue would "evaporate" if the Koreas strengthened their ties.

"We believe your concerns will evaporate should we hold our hands tighter and move on," he said.

In an apparent reference to the US, he remarked that North Korea went its "own way regardless whether there is a wind from the West".

The talks at Pyongyang's People's Cultural Centre are the eighth round since a historic inter-Korean summit in 2000.

US diplomatic drive

American envoy James Kelly confronted North Korea with evidence of a uranium-enriching programme to make nuclear weapons when he visited the North for talks at the beginning of the month.

He later announced that the North had confirmed the programme existed although Pyongyang has not itself commented on the matter since the visit.

US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly
Kelly wants to build up a united front
On a visit to South Korea on Saturday, Mr Kelly said the US would work with South Korea, Japan and others to dismantle the programme.

The assistant secretary of state held talks with South Korean officials about co-ordinating their response.

Mr Kelly, who is now in Japan, said the United States was consulting its allies but said there was no deadline for the issue:

"This is a difficult and complex problem... we'll just have to see how it unfolds."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Donna Larsen
"Now America is taking a tough line"

Nuclear tensions

Inside North Korea

Divided peninsula

TALKING POINT
See also:

18 Oct 02 | South Asia
17 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
17 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
09 May 02 | Americas
12 Dec 01 | In Depth
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes