Security Council to discuss North Korea
World leaders condemn break with nuclear treaty
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council will begin discussing North Korea's decision to pull out of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, the president of the council said late Friday.
Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere of France said North Korea sent a letter Friday morning informing the Security Council of its decision to withdraw. He has since distributed the letter to the rest of the 15-member body.
"It has not been discussed yet [but] there will be consultations on the letter sometime next week," he said.
The news came at the end of a day of international condemnation of North Korea's announcement that it would withdraw from the treaty aimed at controlling the spread of nuclear weapons technology around the world while promoting peaceful development of nuclear power technology.
Earlier Friday, President Bush told Chinese President Jiang Zemin in a 15-minute telephone conversation that the United States has no intention of invading North Korea, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.
The two agreed that North Korea's announcement "was a concern to the entire international community," Fleischer said.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said his country was "deeply disappointed and concerned" by the North Korean announcement during a trip to Moscow, where he was meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We will demand an immediate abandonment of their decision, and we will make all efforts for a peaceful resolution of this problem," Koizumi said.
Putin said that after studying North Korea's statement "we noticed that the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is keeping the door open for talks. We expect that during such talks, all questions and concerns of all parties can and will be solved."
A spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he wants North Korea to reconsider.
"The secretary-general stresses the importance of adhering to treaties and their legal obligations in achieving international peace and security in accordance with international law," the spokeswoman said.
In other developments:
• New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson -- ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton administration -- conducted a second round of talks Friday in Santa Fe with top diplomats from North Korea and said they would go into a third day on Saturday. (Full story)
• Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs James Kelly will travel to the region this weekend to discuss the situation with representatives of South Korea, China, Japan and other countries in an attempt to push North Korea to change course, Fleischer said.
• International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said North Korea's decision was "a continuation of a policy of defiance and was counterproductive to ongoing efforts to achieve peace and stability in the Korean peninsula."
• In Seoul, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung reiterated the need for diplomacy. "The whole world is opposed to North Korea holding nuclear weapons," Kim said. "Therefore, we must resolve this issue through diplomatic efforts and dialogue between the two Koreas in order to prohibit war on the Korean peninsula." The revelation prompted the South Korean government to call an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.
In New York, Pak Gil Yon, the North Korea ambassador to the United Nations, blamed the "confrontational policy" of the United States for the crisis and said "the huge developments will entirely depend on the attitude of the United States."
North Korea has expelled the last two international nuclear monitors from the country.
The nuclear nonproliferation treaty is an international agreement that took force in 1970 when the five countries that at that time acknowledged having nuclear weapons pledged not to share that technology and others pledged not to attempt to acquire it. Since 1970, more than 187 nations have signed the treaty.
However, in that same time span, both Pakistan and India have tested nuclear weapons. Israel refuses to confirm or deny the widespread belief that it has the bomb, but it is believed to have more than 100 atomic weapons. In 1991, South Africa acknowledged that it had developed nuclear weapons but had voluntarily destroy its stockpile and signed the treaty.
The treaty includes an article that enables a state to withdraw "if it decides that extraordinary events ... have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country."
A state must give three months' notice of its intention to withdraw to other treaty parties and the Security Council.
North Korea ratified the treaty in 1985, but in 1993 it gave the statutory 90 days' notice of withdrawal before reversing that plan with one day to go.
1994 Agreed Framework
A prolonged period of diplomatic activity in 1993 and 1994 led to the establishment of the "Agreed Framework," the diplomatic term that describes the 1994 agreement under which North Korea said it would no longer seek to develop nuclear weapons.
In exchange, the United States, Japan and South Korea agreed to help build two light-water nuclear reactors to replace the plutonium-producing reactors Pyongyang was using.
The reactors were being financed mostly by South Korea and Japan. Construction of the reactors began two months ago.
The agreement also called for inspections to verify that the terms were being adhered to, but Pyongyang blocked all attempts to make such inspections even before it announced it had resumed its weapons program and expelled the IAEA inspectors.