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NK 'may drop test if U.S. holds talks'
Cat : WMD
Date : 2006-10-08 16:35:17                      Reader : 261
an agreement through dialogue, to dismantle WMD from the globe. UN should adopt date of Hiroshima bombardment with Nagazaki as an international day not only to mourn the deaths, but mostly to discuss dismantle of WMD.


CNN.COM 8/10/2006

NK 'may drop test if U.S. holds talks'


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea informed China it may drop its plan to test its first atomic bomb if the United States holds bilateral talks with the communist country, a former South Korean lawmaker said Sunday.

The North also denied speculation that its nuclear test was imminent and said the regime has not raised the alert level of the country's military, said Jang Sung-min, citing a telephone conversation with an unidentified Chinese diplomatic official.

North Korea warned the Chinese official, however, that it would accelerate its preparations for a nuclear test if the United States moves toward imposing sanctions or launching a military attack, Jang said, citing his contact.

The Chinese official was informed of North Korea's stance by North Korean officials Sunday afternoon, Jang said.

The official then telephoned Jang in South Korea with the news.

Jang is a former lawmaker of the then-ruling Millennium Democratic Party which later split into the ruling Uri Party and an opposition party. He currently heads a policy think tank in Seoul and has been active in Northeast Asian affairs.

The Chinese official's comments cannot be independently confirmed. Jang declined to identify the Chinese official, citing the sensitive nature of the issue.

There had been speculation that the hard-line communist regime could conduct its nuclear weapon test as early as Sunday, the anniversary of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's appointment as head of the Korean Workers' Party in 1997.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a statement Friday warning the North not to test a nuclear weapon and threatening unspecified consequences if it did.

Japan said it would push punitive measures if the North exploded a nuclear weapon.

Pyongyang claims it has nuclear weapons and needs them to deter a U.S. attack, but hasn't performed any known test to verify that. Many experts believe the North has enough radioactive material to build at least a half-dozen or more nuclear weapons.

The North also told China that the U.S. should engage in talks with North Korea, adding it wants a visit from a U.S. envoy, Jang said.

The U.S. has rejected the North's long-standing demand for direct talks, but has recently shown signs of softening that stance.

Alexander Vershbow, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, said last month that bilateral talks are possible only if the North promises to return to the six-party talks on curbing the North's nuclear program.

The North has said it would boycott the nuclear talks until the U.S. lifts financial restrictions imposed for its alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.

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