Two Views On N. Korea Deal

From left, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, Japanese delegation leader Kenichiro Sasae, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon, North Korean chief negotiator Kim Gye Gwan and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev, join their hands at the close of talks over North Korea's nuclear crisis at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing, China, Monday, Sept. 19, 2005.
AP
North Korea says it will not dismantle its nuclear weapons program until the United States first gives it a nuclear reactor for generating power. The U.S. is rejecting that demand and is urging the communist nation to abide by the agreement announced Monday after over two years' negotiations involving the U.S., Russia, Japan, China, South Korea and North Korea.

Both Japan and China are backing the U.S. in saying that the deal announced Monday in Beijing does require North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program before there can be any consideration of North Korea's demand for a nuclear power plant.

"The Japanese side has continuously said that North Korea's demand is unacceptable," says Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang says "the common statement was adopted by all six parties and I don't think North Korea has any misunderstanding."

The Chinese official says all of the nations participating in the two-year-long negotiations should "solemnly implement their commitments in a serious manner so as to realize the peaceful de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

He expects the next round of six-nation negotiations to begin in the first half of November, as previously scheduled. Japan, meanwhile, is about to take a crack at the issue, according to the TV network NHK, which says bilateral talks are now being arranged on nuclear weapons, missiles, and Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

North Korea had insisted that it be given a light-water reactor, a type less easily diverted for weapons use, in exchange for abandoning nuclear weapons. The U.S. says the agreement reached in Beijing Monday says the six countries in the negotiations will discuss the reactor issue "at an appropriate time."

North Korea said Tuesday it wants a reactor first.

"The U.S. should not even dream of the issue of (North Korea's) dismantlement of its nuclear deterrent before providing (light-water reactors), a physical guarantee for confidence-building," the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. "This is our just and consistent stand as solid as a deeply rooted rock."

"If the U.S. opts for reneging on its promise, we will go ahead without an inch of deflection along the road indicated by the Songun line, our faith and signpost," the statement warned, referring to leader Kim Jong Il's policy emphasizing the military's primary role in society.