Security treaty comes first, North says

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Security treaty comes first, North says

North Korea said yesterday that it will not dismantle its nuclear program as long as the United States does not agree to sign a nonaggression treaty.
The North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement carried through the official Central News Agency that only a legally binding treaty by which the United States forswears military aggression and the establishment of diplomatic relations will demonstrate change in Washington’s policy of hostility. “And as long as the United States does not give up its policy of hostility,” the spokesman said, “we cannot give up our nuclear deterrent.”
The statement also said that North Korea would not allow nuclear inspections until the United States proves it has given up its aggression policy.
Coming two weeks before six-country talks are set to begin in Beijing, the statement renewed Pyeongyang’s position that the negotiations are primarily a venue for North Korea and the United States to deal directly.
The spokesman rejected the U.S. position that a security guarantee for Pyeongyang would be possible with a less formal statement offered by Washington that would be supported by other participating countries ― South Korea, Japan, Russia and China.
Arriving in Seoul for consultations, China’s Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said addressing Pyeongyang’s security concerns is something “for the United States and North Korea to discuss between themselves.”

by Kim Young-sae / Lee Hyo-joon

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