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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Roh: N. Korea Must Choose 'Path of Peace'
Jim Randle
09 Jul 2003, 10:05 UTC

South Korea's president is again urging North Korea to give up its quest for nuclear weapons. The South Korean leader made the call during a visit to Beijing, North Korea's closest ally. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun says North Korea must give up its nuclear projects. He warned that "no nation has the right to threaten the security of its neighbors."

Mr. Roh says North Korea must choose "the path of peace and coexistence with others."

Mr. Roh spoke at prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, which counts Chinese President Hu Jintao among its graduates.

The South Korean president held talks with President Hu and other Chinese leaders during his visit to China. The two nations agreed to pursue a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula, and a peaceful solution to the nuclear dispute.

The United States say North Korea admitted last October that it has a nuclear weapons program, in violation of international agreements.

China is North Korea's long-standing ally, and has recently assumed a vigorous diplomatic role in the nuclear crisis.

In April, China hosted talks between North Korea and the United States that ended without apparent progress. Since then, Beijing has been in close touch with North Korea and recently dispatched top diplomats to Washington and Moscow in the hope of restarting some kind of talks.

In his university speech, South Korean President Roh says solving the dispute over the nuclear program is a step toward the peace needed for northeast Asia to achieve prosperity.

He cites the European Union as an example of a region once torn by bitter conflict and war that now enjoys peace and prosperity envied by other nations. He said, with peace, northeast Asia could grow into a major economic bloc that would parallel Europe and North America.

President Roh next visits China's most important business center, Shanghai, as he nears the end of a four-day state visit to China.

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