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Head of nuclear test ban treaty organization expresses 'serious concern' over North Korea

Head of nuclear test ban treaty organization expresses 'serious concern' over North Korea

The chief of the international organization overseeing a global ban on nuclear test explosions expressed "serious concern" Friday over North Korea's vow to test an atomic weapon.
Tibor Toth, executive secretary of the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization, urged North Korea's reclusive regime to "refrain from any action against the spirit and letter" of the global pact.
The treaty, which bans all nuclear explosions, will not enter into force until it has been ratified by 44 states _ listed in an annex _ who participated in a 1996 disarmament conference and who possess either nuclear power or research reactors. So far, only 34 have done so.
The holdouts include North Korea, which announced this week it plans to test a nuclear weapon. Other nations that have refused to both sign and ratify the pact include the United States, China, India, Pakistan and Israel.
"I share the serious concern expressed regarding the declared intention of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to conduct a nuclear test," Toth said in a statement, noting that worldwide, 176 countries have signed the accord and 135 have ratified it.
"The overwhelming support for the treaty is a clear demonstration of the strong determination of the international community not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion," Toth said.
Volodymyr Yelchenko, who chairs the CTBTO's Preparatory Commission, on Friday also criticized Pyongyang's intentions to test a nuclear weapon, calling it "most regrettable."
"This development would have an adverse impact on the process of global nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation, and aggravate regional and international security," Yelchenko said.
He expressed disappointment that North Korea's vow comes as officials mark the 10th anniversary of the treaty, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly and opened for signature in New York in September 1996.
"I urge the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to adhere to the call to continue a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions and other nuclear explosions and exercise in the future every restraint, in order to avoid steps that will have major international repercussions," Yelchenko said.
At stake, he added, is "peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in northeast Asia.
North Korea threatened Tuesday to conduct a nuclear test to prove it is a nuclear power, although it gave no date for any test.
Caution levels shot up Friday as a top Japanese diplomat said a test over the weekend was a possibility.
"Based on the development so far, it would be best to view that a test is possible this weekend," Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi told Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi.
Media reports have also speculated that a test could come as early as Sunday, the anniversary of Kim Jong Il's appointment as head of the Korean Workers' Party in 1997.
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On the Net:
http://www.ctbto.org


Updated : 2021-03-06 18:42 GMT+08:00