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Despite a visit from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, South Korea is resisting pressures to become more proactive in sanctions against North Korea, hoping to avoid escalating the already tenuous situation. Policy experts discuss South Korea's view of the conflict.
Amid handshakes and toasts, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented a strong message to her Asian allies: They must enforce U.N. sanctions against North Korea. Her visit to Seoul came three days after U.S. officials confirmed the nuclear test took place, sparking fears of a nuclear arms race in Asia.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. Secretary of State: What we want is effective implementation of Resolution 1718 and its measures or its elements that declare an obligation of all states to keep North Korea from trafficking in nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons technologies, financing their programs, receiving support for those programs. We want scrutiny of North Korean cargo that might be involved in such programs.
U.N. Resolution 1718, passed unanimously last Saturday, was drafted by the U.S. It requests North Korea's neighbors, including South Korea, Japan, and China, inspect cargo going in and out of North Korea to prevent the transfer of nuclear and conventional weapons components. It also bans import luxury goods and freezes some North Korean officials' finances.
The best outcome is for North Korea to accept its obligations and to return unconditionally to the six-party talks and to rapidly implement the agreement of September 19th, which would lead to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The South Korean foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon, expected to become the next U.N. secretary general, welcomed Rice to Seoul. He warned the North against testing another nuclear weapon.
BAN KI-MOON, Foreign Minister, South Korea:
It will further aggravate the situation. We share the understanding that, if such a test were to take place, more grave consequences will follow.
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