Source Pravda.Ru

North Korean nuke program: Six-Party Talks at risk

&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/10/19/38385.html' target=_blank>North Korea's public announcement that it has nuclear weapons shredded some key diplomatic pretenses and put the region's Six-Party Talks at risk. But the pressure to get North Korea back to the table now falls more on China and South Korea than on the United States, which has played a reasonable role in promoting those negotiations.

North Korea's announcement shatters China's pretense that there was no assurance the North actually had &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2001/08/29/13748.html' target=_blank>nuclear weapons. That assurance was the underpinning for China's repeated urging of patience and diplomacy in America's approach to the problem. The announcement also directly confronts claims by both China and South Korea that they will not tolerate a nuclear North, informs Newsday.

According to the Voice of America, International Security Professor Kim Jae-chun at Sogang University says the timing is right for South Korea and China to play "the China card."

Professor Kim says China is the only country with real leverage over North Korea, but so far Washington and Seoul have not pushed hard enough for China to use it.

China is North Korea's oldest ally and provides a large portion of its impoverished neighbor's food and energy supplies.

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, who just returned from Washington, says he also will speak by telephone with his counterpart in Beijing.

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