WORLD> Asia-Pacific
DPRK nuke row: China urges diplomacy
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-13 09:47

GENEVA: China Wednesday urged peaceful diplomatic means by the international community to deal with Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) even as the UN chief reiterated that he would contact Pyongyang "directly" if needed to resolve the standoff over its nuclear program.

"It is important to resolve proliferation issues through political and diplomatic means and eradicate the root causes of nuclear weapon proliferation," China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.

The 65-nation conference is the world's only multilateral disarmament forum.

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Yang said Beijing was ready to work with others to promote the denuclearization of the divided Korean peninsula and settle Iran's nuclear issue "with a view to safeguarding the international non-proliferation regime and maintaining regional peace and stability".

Ban Willing to Go to DPRK

The UN Security Council expanded an arms embargo on DPRK after Pyongyang's second nuclear test in May.

In Seoul, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday said he would visit Pyongyang if necessary. "As the secretary-general, I have a plan to find a breakthrough and if necessary directly contact North Korea (DPRK)," Ban said, according to a statement from the Kim Dae-Jung Peace Center. "But nothing concrete has been determined upon when and in what manner to do that."

Ban made similar remarks at the United Nations last month, saying "whatever I can do as the secretary-general I am willing to do, including my own visit to Pyongyang".

US Freezes Bank's Assets

Meanwhile, the United States moved on Tuesday to freeze the assets of a DPRK bank accused of providing financial services to companies involved in Pyongyang's missile programs.

The Treasury Department's action against Korea Kwangson Banking Corp, or KKBC, means any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States that belong to the firm are blocked. Americans are also prohibited from doing business with the DPRK-based bank.

The department alleges that the bank provided financial services to Tanchon Commercial Bank and Korea Hyoksin Trading Corp, which the United States has branded as proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. Those two firms also have alleged ties to the DPRK's missile programs, the department said.

"North Korea's use of a little-known bank, KKBC, to mask the international financial business of sanctioned proliferators demonstrated the lengths to which the regime will go to continue its proliferation activities," said Stuart Levey, the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Reuters - AP