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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


US Delegation Seeks Asian Consensus on North Korea

By VOA News
31 May 2009

A U.S. government delegation is winding its way through Asia this week to discuss how to respond to North Korea's latest nuclear test.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is leading the group, which arrives in Japan Sunday.

The delegation includes Stuart Levy, the Treasury Department's undersecretary on terrorism and financial intelligence. Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special representative for North Korean policy, also is expected to be part of the mission.

From Japan, the delegation travels to South Korea, China and Russia. The countries are part of stalled negotiations aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday that the United States would not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea.

He said Washington would hold Pyongyang "fully accountable" if any nuclear material or technology is transferred outside its borders.

Speaking in Singapore, Gates said painful sanctions may be the only way to peacefully end North Korea's nuclear program.

North Korea has threatened to take retaliatory action if the United Nations Security Council slaps it with new sanctions.

Pyongyang said it tested a nuclear weapon underground on May 25, then launched several short-range missiles this past week and renounced the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953.

U.S. officials say the country may be planning to launch more long-range missile soon.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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