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15 September 2005

meanwhile on Korean Peninsula: state atheists want nukes

The lust for nuclear weapons isn't entirely about religious hatred and fanaticism. North Korea is fanatic about having no religion at all. South Korea doesn't seem to want nuclear weapons; it's about 26% Christian and 26% Buddhist, 1% Confucianist, and 46% declaring no particular faith at all.

North Korea was on President George Bush's original "Axis of Evil."


Thursday 15 September 2005

North Korea
nuclear talks
in disarray

By Brian Rhoads and Teruaki Ueno

BEIJING (Reuters) -- Talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program were in disarray on Friday as a stand-off over Pyongyang's demand for a light-water reactor was exacerbated by its threat to boost weapons production.

As delegations gathered for a fourth day of talks, the United States said the North's demand was holding up an end to a three-year crisis that would allow aid and security guarantees for the impoverished state if it abandoned all nuclear programs.

"We are at a bit of a stand-off at this point. We have to see how this plays out," chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill told reporters in Beijing, where North and South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China are meeting.

"I want to stress that we all want to resolve this through a diplomatic way. (North Korea), not for the first time, has chosen to isolate itself," Hill said.

Failure to reach an accord at the Beijing talks could prompt Washington to take the issue to the U.N. Security Council and press for sanctions. China opposes such a move, and North Korea has said sanctions would be tantamount to war.

The North is standing firm on its demand for light-water reactors, which generate electricity but are unsuitable for making nuclear arms.

"The issue of a light-water reactor is one that's related to the political commitment by the United States to clear its hostility against us and to peacefully co-exist," a spokesman for the North Korean delegation told reporters.

"We are demanding something specific, not an empty right to peaceful nuclear activities. All the countries have expressed understanding of our position, but only the United States is adamantly against it."

South Korea has said it would not be opposed in principle to Pyongyang having a civilian atomic energy program in future.


Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted sources at talks as saying North Korea has indicated it will "keep boosting production" of nuclear weapons if it is not given a light-water nuclear reactor.

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