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U.S. official urges N. Korea to follow Libya's example.

BEIJING, Feb. 16 Kyodo

A week ahead of the six-nation talks on North Korea's disarmament, a U.S. defense official on Monday urged Pyongyang to follow Libya's example in allowing foreign inspectors to check the elimination of its weapons of mass destruction.

John Bolton, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, told a press conference in Beijing, where he arrived earlier in the day for a two-day visit, that North Korea is holding back too much information.

He said Libya has allowed U.S. and British inspectors to look at its arms and to help dismantle the weapons, while it has also named its arms suppliers, prompting Pakistan's top nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to reveal he had sold nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea as well.

Bolton called on North Korea to clearly acknowledge the part of its nuclear program that deals with uranium enrichment, saying without that clarification, ''it's hard to see how you could get a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement.''

''If you want to get there, the answer is in Tripoli,'' he said. ''This issue really is whether North Korea is prepared to make the commitment. I think the example that Libya has provided, it's there for Korea to see, there for Iran to see, there for others to see.''

''The critical conclusion that Libyan government came to is that the pursuit of these weapons did not make them more secure, it made them less secure,'' he added.

Bolton is visiting China on Monday and Tuesday to speak with his Chinese defense counterpart about nonproliferation and with the foreign minister plus a vice foreign minister about the six-nation talks on resolving North Korea's nuclear weapons problem.

The crux of the talks, which broke down in August and are scheduled to resume Feb. 25, is to make North Korea give up nuclear weapons. Other participating nations are China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The U.S. is also hoping to talk about the north's chemical weapons, the deployment of forces near South Korea and abductions of Japanese citizens.

Chinese officials share the U.S. desire for no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, Bolton said, and they ''understand the concerns'' of the U.S.-initiated Proliferation Security Initiative, aimed at interdicting shipments of weapons of mass destruction and missile-related equipment and technologies.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Feb 17, 2004
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