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Diplomatic flurry focuses on North

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Jan 06,2003
Diplomacy to bring a safe resolution to the second standoff in a decade over North Korea's ambition to develop a nuclear program intensifies today with consultations in Europe and Washington aimed at convincing the North to fold its act. Seoul's second-ranking diplomat was in Moscow yesterday and asked Russia to flex its influence with Pyeongyang to keep it within the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and to refrain from steps that would worsen the situation. The Blue House said yesterday that its top national-security aide, Yim Sung-joon, would tour Washington and Tokyo this week to fine-tune strategy on the North. Mr. Yim will take the results of discussions with Beijing and Moscow to top national-security officials and Congressional leaders in Washington in a process to mold a comprehensive approach to the nuclear issue, the Blue House spokeswoman, Park Sun-sook, said yesterday. His Tokyo visit follows later in the week. A trilateral consultative group of senior South Korean, American and Japanese diplomats huddles in Washington beginning late today to forge a united front to urge the North to dismantle its uranium-enriching program and to refreeze a plutonium-based nuclear program. Among South Korea's bundle of proposals are believed to be suggestions for guaranteeing the North's sovereignty and national security in a form closer to Pyeongyang's insistence and the resumption of the fuel supply that was suspended in November. Seoul officials have said, however, that those measures must be preceded by the North's declaration that it would scrap its nuclear programs. The United Nations' nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has called a governing members' meeting for late today and is expected to call on the North to restore surveillance tools removed from nuclear facilities in late December. The body is not expected to refer the issue to the UN Security Council, however.
by Kim Young-sae
January 06, 2003




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