Seoul mulls anti-proliferation effort

Feb. 16, 2009 at 11:36 AM

SEOUL, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- South Korea should join an international effort led by the United States to interdict transfers of banned nuclear weapons technology, a Seoul official says.

South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee told a National Assembly session Monday that because North Korea is continuing work on its nuclear program, Seoul should join and actively participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative, Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported.

"Under the situation in which North Korea is developing long-range missile and nuclear weapons, it is time for South Korea to reconsider its participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative," Lee said.

Under the current setup, South Korea has observer status in the PSI, a program launched by U.S. President George Bush in 2003 that has been vehemently denounced by Pyongyang. Earlier liberal governments in Seoul were reluctant to become a full-fledged initiative member to avoid antagonizing their communist neighbor, Yonhap said.

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