S. Korean president worried about arms race
Associated Press Writer
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons could spawn a destabilizing arms race in Asia that would threaten world security, South Korea’s president warned Friday.
“North Korea pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities is a threat, and of course this will tempt others in the region, thereby threatening global peace and security as well,” President Lee Myung-bak told a reception at his residence.
Lee, who spoke a day after returning from the United States where he met President Barack Obama, also warned against the destructive potential of nuclear weapons as well as possible proliferation.
“If such nuclear technology falls into the wrong hands our everyday lives will be filled with continuous fear and anxiety,” he told business and economic leaders who had participated in a two-day event in Seoul sponsored by the World Economic Forum.
Lee’s comments highlighted two key worries about North Korea’s atomic ambitions, namely that countries such as Japan and South Korea might move to develop their own arsenals if North Korea’s program is not stopped and that the North may sell its technology to others.
His remarks came as the United States says it has deployed anti-missile defenses around Hawaii, following reports that North Korea is preparing to fire its most advanced ballistic missile in that direction to coincide with the U.S. Independence Day holiday next month.
Last week, the communist regime vowed to bolster its nuclear arsenal and threatened war to protest U.N. sanctions in the wake of its May 25 nuclear test, the country’s second. It conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006, and there are suspicions it is preparing for a third.
At United Nations headquarters in New York, the committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea met Friday for the first time since the adoption of the recent resolution tightening measures against the North.
The resolution asks the committee to designate additional companies and individuals that should have their assets frozen or be subjected to a travel ban because of their links to the banned weapons program. After Friday’s meeting, committee chairman Baki Ilkin, Turkey’s U.N. ambassador, told reporters that some names had been submitted for consideration and he expected more by late next week when the committee is to meet again.