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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 06:28 GMT
Nuclear concerns top Seoul talks
North Korean Taepodong-1 missile
North Korea's nuclear programme has caused an uproar
The BBC's Caroline Gluck

US Under-Secretary of Defence Douglas Feith is in South Korea for talks with senior government officials about security issues on the peninsula.

US Under-Secretary of Defence Douglas Feith
Douglas Feith will also hold talks in Japan
The discussions are expected to focus on North Korea, following its admission that it was pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Feith - who is on a two-day visit - has already met South Korea's defence minister.

He is due to hold talks with the foreign minister later on Wednesday.

Military agenda

Mr Feith's visit to Seoul was meant to be routine, to finalise the agenda of annual security talks between the US and South Korea.

This year's meeting is expected to focus on the US-led war on terror and the ongoing military operation in Afghanistan.

Washington is a close military ally of Seoul, with 37,000 American troops stationed in the South to counter any threat from the North.

But the timing of this visit - just a few weeks after North Korea's admission of a covert nuclear weapons programme - has meant that North Korea is likely to dominate the talks.

Washington has rejected offers by the North for discussions about its nuclear concerns, saying the regime must first dismantle its nuclear programme before any such talks can begin.

Japanese officials repeated that demand during talks with North Korea last month, aimed at normalising relations.

In response, Pyongyang warned on Tuesday that it may reconsider its self-imposed moratorium on missile testing.

Mr Feith is scheduled to travel to Tokyo for similar discussions on Friday.


Map showing ranges of North Korean missiles
  • Map shows range of Taepodong 1 missile, flown over Japan in 1998
  • Evidence that North Korea preparing flight test of Taepodong 2 with range of 4,000-6,000 km (could reach Alaska)
  • Thought to be developing Taepodong 3 with range of 8,000 km (could reach western US)
  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Caroline Gluck
    "Diverging views are emerging"

    Nuclear tensions

    Inside North Korea

    Divided peninsula

    TALKING POINT
    See also:

    05 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
    04 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
    30 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    23 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    21 Oct 02 | Americas
    18 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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