[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

US rejects N Korea's nuclear status demand

North Korea says it will not negotiate with US or South Korea unless it is recognised as a nuclear state.

Last Modified: 23 Apr 2013 12:31
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February triggering UN sanctions and heightening tensions [EPA]

The US has rejected North Korea's demands to be recognised as a nuclear state, keeping in line with Washington's condition that the North has to agree to give up its nuclear arms programme before talks can begin.

After weeks of tension on the Korean peninsula, including North Korean threats of nuclear war, the North has in recent days begun to at least talk about dialogue in response to calls for talks from the US and South Korea.

On Tuesday, the North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried commentary rejecting the US and South Korean condition that it agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons and suspend missile launches as groundless and "totally unacceptable".

"If the Democratic People's Republic of Korea sits at a table with the US, it has to be a dialogue between nuclear weapons states, not one side forcing the other to dismantle nuclear weapons," the newspaper said.

US rejection

Later on Tuesday, US Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman rejected the North's demands.

"North Korea's demand to be recognised as a nuclear weapons state is neither realistic nor acceptable," he said.

"It is important that the world respond calmly but deliberately without changing our emphasis that the goal of the world to which North Korea is committed is a denuclearised Korean peninsula."

A White House spokesman said earlier this month that North Korea would need to show it was serious about abandoning its nuclear ambitions for talks to be meaningful.

North Korea signed a denuclearisation-for-aid deal in 2005 but later backed out of that pact. It now says its nuclear arms
are a "treasured sword" that it will never give up.

It conducted its third nuclear test in February.

That triggered new UN sanctions which in turn led to a dramatic intensification of North Korea's threats of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US.

Radioactive gases

Also on Tuesday, a UN agency tasked with looking for signs of nuclear explosions says its monitoring stations have detected radioactive gases that could be linked to the February test.

CTBTO says stations in Japan and Russia have picked up "significant" traces of noble gases that accompany a nuclear explosion and say they "could be attributed" to the North's test.

A statement from the Vienna-based CTBTO said the Japanese station is located around 1,000 km from the test site.

"Using Atmospheric Transport Modelling, which calculates the three-dimensional travel path of airborne radioactivity on the basis of weather data, the DPRK test site was identified as a possible source for the emission," said the agency.

It says lower levels were picked up by the Russian site at Ussuriysk, without giving its location in relation to the site.

It says the two types of xenon radioactive isotopes detected "provide reliable information on the nuclear nature of the source.''

447

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list