Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

SKorea hints at joining US-led WMD interdiction program

SKorea hints at joining US-led WMD interdiction program

The nominee to be South Korea's foreign minister indicated Wednesday that Seoul may join a U.S.-led program aimed at halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
The move would further strengthen ties with Washington, as newly inaugurated President Lee Myung-bak has vowed to do, but also could anger North Korea.
"It is appropriate to examine whether there is a way to more actively participate" in the Proliferation Security Initiative, Foreign Minister-designate Yu Myung-hwan said during a one-day parliamentary hearing on his appointment.
The PSI was launched in 2003 primarily to deter trade in missile and nuclear technology by states such as North Korea and Iran.
Participating countries hold maritime drills to stop and search ships suspected of carrying nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, materials to make them or missiles to deliver them.
South Korea has only been an observer to the PSI program and has previously balked at U.S. requests to become a full member so as not to provoke North Korea.
The North has condemned the program for being part of a U.S. attempt to topple the regime. Pyongyang has also warned Seoul against joining the PSI, saying it would bring about unspecified "catastrophic consequences."
Yu plans to visit Washington next month to discuss the issue with American officials ahead of Lee's planned summit with U.S. President George W. Bush, South Korean media reported.
The Foreign Ministry could not immediately confirm the media report, saying the new minister has yet to assume his job.
The security program is widely seen as one of key issues symbolizing the restoration of a half-century alliance between South Korea and the U.S.
Lee, who took office Monday, has repeatedly pledged to bolster the ties with Washington that critics say have become strained over a decade of liberal rule in South Korea, mainly due to differences over how to deal with North Korea.
Seoul has favored a softer approach to the North while Washington has opted for a tougher line.
But the U.S. has modified its previous hard-line policy toward the North since Pyongyang's nuclear test in 2006 to try to facilitate progress in multinational talks aimed at ridding the communist country of its nuclear weapons programs.


Updated : 2021-04-23 21:12 GMT+08:00