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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Viewpoints: N Korea's nuclear pledge
In the wake of North Korea's agreement in principle to abandon nuclear weapons, the BBC News website spoke to people in neighbouring South Korea and Japan to hear their reaction.

HI-YOON, SEOUL , SOUTH KOREA

Hi Yoon
Hi-yoon is sceptical about the declaration
I feel cynical about this wholly unclear declaration.

I am very conservative when it comes to the issue of North Korea's nuclear powers.

We South Koreans experienced a war because of them. How can we trust such a government?

And I can't help but feel that history repeats itself. In 1994, similar talks with a similar supposed breakthrough came to nothing. On the surface it is amazing news, but who will guarantee their promises and what about their constant demands?

I'm negative about the future and I think they will only make deals to get more benefits and delay setting any firm dates.

I will never trust the North Korean government.

MUTSUKO YOSHIDA, NAGASAKI JAPAN

Mutsuko Yoshida
Mutsuko Yishida has contact with many atomic bomb survivors

North Korea has betrayed us many times. I feel scared about their possible access to a nuclear arsenal.

This seems a remarkable agreement in principle, but I'm not convinced the North Koreans operate by the same rules and their latest demands for nuclear reactors is proof of this.

I work for the Nagasaki Foundation for the Promotion of Peace and many Hibakusha - survivors of the nuclear bomb - are members.

The wish of these victims is to make Nagasaki the last atomic bomb in the world. For many years, the shock was so great that they concealed their feelings.

But now they are eager to speak up as the only human beings to have experienced the horror of an atomic bomb.

They talk about nuclear disarmament and, for many, it is their greatest wish.

When Mother Theresa visited the Nagasaki museum, she said that all world leaders must see this. If Kim Jong-il visited and spoke to some Hibakusha, how could he not understand?

But I fear that they cannot be trusted and their way of thinking is beyond the comprehension of the average person.

LEE JUNG-WOO, SUWON, SOUTH KOREA

Jung Woo Lee
Jung-woo would like to see a united Korea
I am positive about the future.

I believe that Korea is one nation temporarily divided into two states because of post-war political and ideological differences.

This deal will revive stagnant relations between North and South Korea as the nuclear weapons issue was the main barrier to peaceful relations.

Many South Koreans are sceptical of our policy towards the North, arguing that we offer economic aid only for the money to go towards the development of nuclear weapons.

Now we can legitimately expect that they will not use aid for weapons.

But we must carefully observe the actions of the government of North Korea. We cannot ignore the possibility that it will break this agreement.

The government is likely to do just whatever suits its own interests.

SHINJI NOMA, HIROSHIMA, JAPAN

Shinji Noma
Shinji Noma believes the world has double standards on the nuclear issue
The Japanese are well used to hearing the lies of the North Korean authorities.

This agreement is ambiguous with no promises attached. With so many complicated steps towards the abolition of nuclear weapons, I have little optimism.

And there is a history of mistrust because of the Japanese people who were abducted by the North Korean authorities over 20 years ago.

Many Japanese people regard North Korea's attitude as political manoeuvring.

But I think the world has double standards, which is probably what the North Korean politicians are telling themselves. There are nuclear weapons in India, Pakistan and Israel too.

This is an issue close to my heart. As a member of Amnesty International, I have been exchanging letters with Mordechai Vanunu, the nuclear whistleblower in Israel.

I have heard much about the horrors of nuclear war. There is real feeling against nuclear weapons, but what can we do if we are on the doorstep of North Korea?

KEN IMAI, YOKOHAMA, JAPAN

Ken Imai
Ken Imai says North Korea is the single greatest threat to Japan
As a Japanese person, I am afraid of a nuclear North Korea. I feel it is the single greatest threat to our national security.

Our nation has experienced the great atrocity of atomic bombs. Recently, I visited the museum in Hiroshima. It truly was an apocalypse, the extent of which it is difficult to imagine.

If the North Koreans have decided to abandon weapons, it would be a great relief for us.

But, judging from their past and current performance, I just do not trust their response. I don't know much about North Korea's regime, but it seems very unstable to me.

Sometime in the future we will surely witness a collapse and that could affect us and neighbouring countries such as South Korea and China.

I hate to think what could happen if they had nuclear capability in such a scenario.




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