Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Musharraf to Kim: Give it up

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has called for North Korea to give up its nuclear program in the name of international peace.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf yesterday called on North Korea to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program for the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and the world.

"Pakistan is opposed to nuclear proliferation and is committed to universal and complete nuclear disarmament, Musharraf said during an exclusive interview with The Korea Herald.

"We would encourage North Korea to demonstrate responsibility, restraint and feasibility in order to find a peaceful resolution," he added.

Perhaps Pakistan should have thought about that before they helped North Korea build their program to begin with. The New York Times reports:

American intelligence officials have concluded that Pakistan, a vital ally since last year's terrorist attacks, was a major supplier of critical equipment for North Korea's newly revealed clandestine nuclear weapons program, current and former senior American officials said today.

The equipment, which may include gas centrifuges used to create weapons-grade uranium, appears to have been part of a barter deal beginning in the late 1990's in which North Korea supplied Pakistan with missiles it could use to counter India's nuclear arsenal, the officials said.

''What you have here,'' said one official familiar with the intelligence, ''is a perfect meeting of interests -- the North had what the Pakistanis needed, and the Pakistanis had a way for Kim Jong Il to restart a nuclear program we had stopped.'' China and Russia were less prominent suppliers, officials said.

The White House said tonight that it would not discuss Pakistan's role or any other intelligence information. Nor would senior administration officials who briefed reporters today discuss exactly what intelligence they showed to North Korean officials two weeks ago, prompting the North's defiant declaration that it had secretly started a program to enrich uranium in violation of its past commitments.

The trade between Pakistan and North Korea appears to have occurred around 1997, roughly two years before Gen. Pervez Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup. However, the relationship appears to have continued after General Musharraf became president, and there is some evidence that a commercial relationship between the two country's extended beyond Sept. 11 of last year.


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