S Korean gov't: S Korea, U.S. do not see DPRK as nuclear power

14:46, April 12, 2010      

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Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday South Korea and the United States do not recognize the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a nuclear power, playing down U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent remark that Pyongyang possesses up to six nuclear weapons.

"The international community, including South Korea and the U.S. , has maintained a firm position that North Korea (DPRK) cannot obtain nuclear power status," the ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun told reporters in a press briefing.

Kim's remark comes in apparent contrast with Clinton's description last week of the DPRK as a country that has already acquired up to six nuclear weapons, despite the U.S. government's official position not to acknowledge Pyongyang as a nuclear weapons state.

The foreign ministry said Seoul and Washington see eye to eye on the issue, apparently belittling the comments of the top U.S. diplomat.

"We understand that Secretary Clinton's remark was meant to emphasize the importance of the international community's efforts to denuclearize the North," Kim said, adding that she is believed to have mentioned the DPRK along with Iran as an example of countries "actively seeking" nuclear arms.

"There could be many different assessments on the North's nuclear capabilities, but we believe specifics should be confirmed through thorough verification," the spokesman said.

Pyongyang conducted two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and has refused to return to nuclear disarmament talks hosted by China.

Source: Xinhua


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