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Monday, 16 December, 2002, 04:53 GMT
Clinton 'threatened' N Korea over nuclear arms
North Korean soldiers
North Korea's ambitions must be curtailed, says Clinton
Former US President Bill Clinton has revealed that his administration threatened North Korea with an attack aimed at destroying its nuclear facilities in 1994 unless it agreed to freeze its plans to build nuclear weapons.

We drew up plans to attack North Korea and to destroy their reactors - we told them we would attack unless they ended their nuclear programme

Bill Clinton
Mr Clinton described the situation between the two countries at the time as "very intense".

North Korea agreed to halt its nuclear activities that same year, in exchange for two light-water power reactors and annual shipments of half a million tons of heavy oil.

But last week, Pyongyang announced that it was planning to reactivate a nuclear reactor following a decision by the US to suspend oil shipments into the country.

North Korea says it needs the reactor for power.

Mr Clinton, who was speaking at a dinner for businessmen in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, warned that North Korea must be persuaded or forced to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Endorsement

Mr Clinton said that before the 1994 agreement, the North Koreans were planning to produce six to eight nuclear weapons per year, with plutonium extracted from power plants.

Bill Clinton
Clinton's revelations come at a time of renewed tensions

"We actually drew up plans to attack North Korea and to destroy their reactors and we told them we would attack unless they ended their nuclear programme."

Mr Clinton said Pyongyang's nuclear programme remained a pressing concern.

"You do not want North Korea making bombs and selling them to the highest bidder because they cannot feed themselves through the winter.

"I approve of the approach by President [George W] Bush to work with the South Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Russians to end this programme - but make no mistake about it, it has to be ended," he said.


Nuclear tensions

Inside North Korea

Divided peninsula

TALKING POINT
See also:

13 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
30 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


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