Seoul: North Korea could conduct a third
nuclear test or missile launch before next year`s US and South Korean presidential elections if nuclear disarmament talks
fail, a senior Seoul official said Friday.
"I think that North Korea could test-launch a long-range missile or conduct a third nuclear test if de-nuclearisation talks with South Korea and the US fail," said Kim Tae-Hyo, presidential secretary for national security strategy.
"North Korea could take provocative acts if it judges it
won`t be able to extract economic aid from South Korea and the
US ahead of next year`s presidential elections in both
countries," Kim told a security forum.
Chun Yung-Woo, senior presidential security secretary,
told the same forum the North must shut down its newly
disclosed uranium enrichment programme before the six-nation
disarmament talks can be restarted.
"In order for the six-party talks to resume, North Korea
must show sincerity and take the required pre-steps, including
a monitored shutdown of its uranium enrichment programme,"
Yonhap news agency quoted him as saying.
"North Korea claims that the six-party talks should be
resumed without preconditions but it does not want to tackle
the core issue -- nuclear weapons," Chun said.
The North abandoned the six-party forum in April 2009 and
staged its second nuclear test a month later. It now calls for
an unconditional resumption of negotiations.
The United States and South Korea say the North must
first show it is serious about the process, notably by
shutting down the uranium programme which could be
reconfigured to make bombs.
"As a matter of principle, we have no intention of
rewarding North Korea for its illegal nuclear weapons," Chun
Last month, the nuclear envoys of South and North Korea
held a second meeting in as many months to try to lay the
groundwork for the resumption of the six-party talks. No
significant progress was, however, reported.