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Rumsfeld: Six-Party Talks Best Venue to Deal With North Korean Threat

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

MANAGUA, Nicaragua, Oct. 3, 2006 – It’s “perfectly understandable” that North Korea’s neighbors are concerned over that country’s announcement earlier today that it will test a nuclear weapon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

North Korea announced through its official news agency that it would test such a weapon. In the past, North Korea has insisted it has the right to test nuclear weapons.

Rumsfeld, here for talks with other defense ministers from Western Hemisphere nations, said he believes North Korea’s neighbors would react to North Korea’s statement. “It’s perfectly understandable that they would react and be concerned about it,” he said.

South Korea and Japan objected to the announcement almost immediately.

The secretary said he hopes any reaction by North Korea’s neighbors would force the insular nation back to the Six-Party Talks.

“(The) Six-Party Talks are the proper method for dealing with North Korea,” Rumsfeld said, adding that the U.S. State Department is working with countries in Asia to deal with the announcement.

North Korea’s government withdrew from the Six-Party Talks -- with China, South Korea, Japan, the United States and Russia -- in 2005. The country’s communist government has insisted on private talks with the United States; U.S. officials have refused, saying it’s a regional problem and needs a regional solution.

Rumsfeld called North Korea an “active proliferator.”

“Were they to test and were they then to proliferate those technologies, we’d be living with a proliferator, and obviously we’d be living in a somewhat different world,” he said.

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

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