July 17, 2009 09:47
Kim Yong-nam, the president of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly Presidium, told 15th Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt that six-party talks on the North's nuclear program are over for good. "There can be no dialogue or negotiations where the principles of respect for sovereign rights and equality are denied," the North's No. 2 leader said. "The six-party nuclear talks are over for good, because the U.S. and its many supporters participating in the talks have given those principles up."
Already on April 14, North Korea declared it would "never participate in the six-party talks again."
That declaration was given weight by the statement at the NAM meeting, which brought together 118 member states and was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It "crushed the possibility of resuming the talks," said Prof. Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University.
Nam Sung-wook, director of the Institute for National Security Strategy, said, "We should pay attention to his remarks about arms reduction talks. He means the North will engage only in nuclear arms reduction talks with the U.S., instead of the six-party talks that envisage the North abandoning nuclear weapons."
North Korea was only developing a nuclear program when the six-party talks started in 2003, but it has now become a nuclear state after two nuclear tests. Pyongyang is apparently after a new dialogue framework that will replace the six-party talks.
"The North has delivered a message to the international community that there is no other choice but to hold bilateral talks between the U.S. and North Korea," said Prof. Yun Duk-min of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Security.
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