Britain urges North Korea to take 'Gaddafi route' on WMD

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Britain is negotiating with Pyongyang for North Korea to take the "Gaddafi route" and disclose details of its nuclear programme in return for coming in from the international cold.

Britain is negotiating with Pyongyang for North Korea to take the "Gaddafi route" and disclose details of its nuclear programme in return for coming in from the international cold.

Kung Sok-Ung, the North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister who is on a visit to Britain, discussed the option with the Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell, and intends to raise the issue with his government in Pyongyang.

The talks in London took place as the United Nations sent a special envoy, Maurice Strong, to North Korea in an effort to restart the latest round of negotiations about the nuclear crisis involving six nations which stalled in Beijing last Friday. North Korea rejected a United States demand for complete dismantling of its civil and military nuclear programme, accusing Washington of arrogance and threatening to develop a "stronger nuclear deterrent force" in response.

However, Mr Rammell said Mr Kung appeared keen to reassure the West that Pyongyang wanted a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, and hoped the talks - involving North and South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the US - would resume. Mr Rammell, whose area of responsibility includes East Asia, said he was willing to travel to Pyongyang as long as North Korea was prepared to discuss the nuclear issue openly.

"I pointed out to the minister that Libya was making a journey back from isolation through being more transparent about its weapons programme and the same route could be taken by North Korea," Mr Rammell said. "This was certainly not rejected, and we hope to negotiate further on the matter."

According to diplomatic sources, Britain and the European Union believe they can negotiate with Pyongyang from a "less confrontational" stance than that pursued previously by Washington.

North Korea wants written guarantees of its security as well as international aid in return for ending its nuclear programme. The US is demanding a complete and irreversible dismantling of the programme before it considers normalising ties and offering large-scale aid.

Comments