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US Asks Nations to Stop Nuclear Spread 09/22 05:46

   U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appealed to the international 
community, especially Russia and China, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, 
calling North Korea a case study of the failure to prevent rogue states from 
obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appealed to the 
international community, especially Russia and China, to stop the spread of 
nuclear weapons, calling North Korea a case study of the failure to prevent 
rogue states from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

   U.S.-Russian relations are at a low point, but Tillerson recalled the 
cooperation between Washington and Moscow during the Soviet era, despite their 
Cold War rivalry, on measures to stop the threat of nuclear weapons 
proliferation. And he said "we should do so again."

   "We especially ask Russia to examine how it can better support global 
nonproliferation efforts," Tillerson said. "If Russia wants to restore its role 
as a credible actor in resolving the situation with North Korea it can prove 
its good intentions by upholding its commitments to establish international 
efforts on nuclear security and arms control."

   As for China, he said Beijing's cooperation is essential to prevent "a 
catastrophe" and conflict on the Korean Peninsula. If China truly wants to 
denuclearize the peninsula, he said it should work "to put the kind of pressure 
on North Korea that can change its strategic calculation before it's too late."

   Tillerson said North Korea "is a case study in why nations must work to 
preserve and strengthen global nonproliferation norms."

   North Korea joined the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in the mid-1980s but 
it "cheated" and was never held accountable, he said. It withdrew from the 
treaty in 2003 and carried out its first underground nuclear test in 2006.

   Tillerson said there were also lessons for Iran "which was on its own path 
to develop nuclear weapons" and "seems keen to preserve for itself the option 
to resume such work in the future," allegations strongly denied by Iran's 
President Hassan Rouhani.

   Tillerson spoke Thursday at a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security 
Council called by the United States on "the acute threat" posed by the 
proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. It cited three 
countries in a note to council members that have been targeted by council 
resolutions --- North Korea, Iran and Syria.

   Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia took issue with the meeting, 
saying a discussion on nonproliferation "should be general, not pegged to 
someone's idea of 'pariah states.'" He said a U.S. "concept note" sent to 
council members before the meeting "artificially links three country situations 
which have absolutely nothing to do with each other."

   He said "further prospects in the field of nonproliferation cannot be 
considered in isolation from the overall security" situation. This means taking 
into account all factors that affect security --- "first and foremost" the U.S. 
deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System, also known as 
THAAD, and "NATO's joint nuclear mission."

   Tillerson said the U.S. never mentioned "a trigger for accelerated 
development by some states of weapons of mass destruction" --- the toppling of 
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein whose country was invaded in the mistaken belief 
that he had nuclear weapons and the overthrow of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi 
who voluntarily renounced the development of nuclear weapons

   "This doesn't in any way, of course, justify the DPRK's missile and nuclear 
program, but to ignore the reasons for them is to be very short-sighted," 
Nebenzia said, using the initials of North Korea's official name, the 
Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

   During the council meeting, speaker after speaker including U.S. allies in 
Europe and Japan spoke out in support of the 2015 nuclear deal that capped 
Iran's nuclear program, which President Donald Trump is threatening to scrap.

   Nebenzia expressed hope that "common sense will prevail in the end" and "the 
irresponsible" attempt to torpedo the agreement, known as the JCPOA, will be 
stopped.

   The Russian ambassador then said he had to correct his early statement about 
North Korea, Iran and Syria not being linked.

   "Iran and the DPRK today do find themselves linked --- because if the United 
States does leave the JCPOA, this will be the worst signal we can send to North 
Korea, Nebenzia said.

   "In fact more intensive diplomatic efforts are now needed in the Korean 
Peninsula and one needs to start now without wasting any timel," he said.

   Russia and China again urged adoption of their freeze-for-freeze proposal 
that would halt North Korean nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. 
and South Korea stopping their joint military exercises. But the Trump 
administration has rejected it.

   China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the council it is "a practical way 
out" and stressed that China had "made tireless efforts for settlement to the 
North Korean issue."

   He said sanctions are important "to promote a resumption of talks and 
dialogue" in North Korea. He added that "it is necessary to exercise pressure, 
as appropriate, if countries blatantly violate" agreements and Security Council 
resolutions.

   "But sanctions are not the panacea," Wang said. "Dialogue and negotiations 
present the fundamental way out."


(KA)

 
 
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