Seoul, Oct. 19 (Reuters): The United States will press North Korea to “immediately and visibly end” the covert nuclear weapons programme the Communist state has admitted having, a senior US envoy said today.
Assistant secretary of state James Kelly, the US official to whom North Korean officials had acknowledged running a secret uranium enrichment scheme for weapons, said the United States was working with its allies to halt the programme.
“The United States is focused now on consultations with friends and allies and we hope to bring maximum international pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions,” Kelly said in Seoul.
Building nuclear weapons would mean that the isolated state, which US President George W. Bush has said is part of an “axis of evil” with Iran and Iraq, has violated the 1994 Agreed Framework under which it promised to halt its nuclear programme.
Kelly said that when the North Korean officials admitted having the nuclear scheme in the face of evidence, they tried to blame US for scuppering the 1994 pact. North Korea has not commented on the US assertions detailed by Kelly in Seoul. The envoy, who had arrived from China and met senior South Korean officials, will go to Tokyo tomorrow for consultations.