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South Korea calls NKorea's possession of nuclear weapons intolerable

South Korea calls NKorea's possession of nuclear weapons intolerable

South Korea urged North Korea on Wednesday to renounce its nuclear test plan and return to international disarmament talks, saying Seoul won't tolerate the North's possession of nuclear weapons.
"We express grave concern and regret," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Choo Kyu-ho. "We urge North Korea to immediately scrap the nuclear test plan. In addition, the North should return to six-party talks unconditionally without taking any further steps aggravating the situation."
The spokesman also said the South won't tolerate North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons.
"If North Korea pushes ahead with a nuclear test, North Korea should take full responsibility for all consequences," he said. He didn't elaborate.
The South's announcement came after the country held an emergency meeting of security ministers earlier in the day.
It was South Korea's first official reaction to the North's statement Tuesday that it was planning a nuclear explosion to prove the country is a nuclear power. The statement from the North's Foreign Ministry didn't give a date for a test. The North claims it has nuclear weapons, but hasn't performed any known test.
The North's statement further spiked the already high tension in the region in the wake of the North's test-firing of a series of missiles in July.
Six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program have been stalled since November last year as Pyongyang refuses to attend in anger over U.S. efforts to cut off the North's access to international banking over the country's alleged financial wrongdoing. The talks involve China, Japan, Koreas, Russia and the United States.
The North's announcement prompted South Korea to raise its security level and spurred strong condemnation from countries around the world. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said a North Korean nuclear test would be "a very provocative act."
The North Korean nuclear crisis flared in late 2002 after Washington accused the North of running a clandestine atomic bomb program in violation of its pledge not to do so. Pyongyang denies the claim.
The two Koreas are still technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. But their relations warmed significantly after the first-ever summit of their leaders in 2000.


Updated : 2021-04-16 16:44 GMT+08:00