Seoul expects no damage to nuke talks from Syria issue

April 26th, 2008 - 1:04 pm ICT by admin  

Seoul, April 26 (IANS) The US assertion that North Korea transferred nuclear technology to Syria is unlikely to affect efforts to advance the stalled six-party talks on the communist nation’s atomic weapons programme, South Korean government sources have said. A senior South Korean foreign ministry official, privy to the six-way talks, said that efforts to resume the negotiations would stay on course despite the Syria concern, WAM news agency reported Saturday.

The Bush administration had Thursday provided Congress with the clearest evidence yet about North Korea helping Syria build a nuclear reactor.

Israel had destroyed the suspected Syrian nuclear site in September.

The South Korean official said the revelations appear to be aimed at countering criticism from hard-liners in Washington about a provisional agreement the top North Korean and US nuclear envoys produced in their Singapore talks earlier this month.

South Korea’s ambassador to Washington Lee Tae-sik said that it was more important to secure a firm pledge by the North not to get involved in proliferation activity in the future.

South Korean officials said that the Bush administration might have wanted to send a clear message to North Korea, which is preparing to present a long-delayed declaration.

Once the North Korea submits a declaration acceptable to the US and other involved nations, Washington is expected to take initial steps to remove Pyongyang from the list of terrorism-sponsoring nations.

“It is a process that needs the help of the Congress,” the South Korean official said, adding that was partly why the US government gave a briefing on the Syria issue.

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