your connection to The Boston Globe

S. Korea balks at policing cargo

Fears efforts could provoke clash with Pyongyang

SEOUL -- South Korea balked yesterday at participating in a US-led plan that foresees intercepting North Korean ships suspected of carrying arms cargo as part of sanctions on Pyongyang for conducting a nuclear test.

The decision came as South Korea finalized a report on how it would carry out the UN sanctions slapped on North Korea in response to the Oct. 9 nuclear test.

South Korea insisted it is already doing enough to prevent weapons proliferation from the North.

Seoul is worried that stopping and searching North Korean ships could lead to armed clashes with North Korea.

The United States and Japan are concerned the North Koreans are continuing to develop its nuclear program with help and equipment from sources outside the communist state.

Yesterday, the Czech media reported that the Czech secret service, or BIS, disrupted three attempts last year by North Korea to purchase special equipment needed for nuclear arms production.

BIS spokesman Jan Subrt said the equipment sought by North Korea could be used in the arms industry for the production of conventional and nuclear weapons and their launchers.

Meanwhile, six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions are expected to resume early next month, Russian ambassador to Japan Alexander Losyukov said today.

He added, however, that he did not expect a breakthrough in the talks, which group the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

"On the question of when a next round of the six-party talks will be, exchanges of diplomatic documents show early December," Losyukov told a news conference in Tokyo.

North Korea pulled out of the six-party talks a year ago, protesting a US financial crackdown, but it agreed in late October to return to the negotiating table on the premise the US measures would be discussed.

The dates of the next round of the talks have yet to be fixed.

Material from Reuters news agency was used in this report.

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives