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Former U.S. senator calls for bilateral talks with North Korea

Former U.S. senator calls for bilateral talks with North Korea

Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn called Tuesday for direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea after the Asian nation stunned the world last week by conducting a nuclear test.
Nunn, a Democrat and former chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the Bush administration's reluctance to meet with the North "counterproductive."
"We talked to our adversaries during the worst parts of the Cold War," Nunn said at a symposium at the University of Georgia on nuclear energy and security.
"Who knows what catastrophes we prevented? But I do know one thing: When you do not communicate with your adversaries and when you know that war is going to be devastating when it comes, it is a mistake to leave any ambiguity in our policy. Those ambiguities can only be removed by frank and candid dialogue," he said.
The U.S. has resisted direct talks with the North, opting instead for six-party talks aimed at persuading the country to dismantle its weapons program, sign the international nuclear test ban treaty and allow U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities.
North Korea has showed no signs of cooperating. It blasted U.N. sanctions that seek to punish the country for its nuclear test and warned the world that the measures amount to a declaration of war.
Nunn, an expert on nuclear proliferation who co-founded the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative after leaving office in 1996, said the North's threat means the U.S. must once again prove its Cold War commitment to defending Japan and South Korea, which never developed their own nuclear arms programs.
"These two nations and their citizens must be reassured that they remain under the U.S. nuclear umbrella and that we will regard an attack from North Korea against South Korea and Japan as an attack against the United States," Nunn said.
While in office, Nunn partnered with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar to craft legislation that aimed to safeguard and ultimately dismantle thousands of nuclear warheads scattered throughout former Soviet states.
Since stepping down, Nunn has teamed with billionaires Ted Turner and Warren Buffett to pledge $50 million (euro39.9 million) to the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency to create a stockpile of low-grade fuel for nuclear power plants to discourage countries from developing their own programs.
He warned that rising fuel costs will only prod more emerging nations to explore nuclear power, and said that U.S. and other nuclear powers should reach out to those countries by allowing the nuclear watchdog group to inspect their enrichment programs as well.
"We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe," Nunn said. "And at the moment, the outcome is unclear."'
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http://www.uga.edu


Updated : 2021-10-23 07:34 GMT+08:00