Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

North Korea monitored following nuclear test

South Korea has sent a delegation to observe a US-led anti-proliferation

exercise, the Foreign Ministry said today.

It comes despite Seoul's reluctance to fully participate in an initiative that

could antagonise its northern neighbour.

Both South Korea and the US have been separately monitoring activities at a

possible nuclear site in North Korea to determine if the communist country is

planning a second test, reports said yesterday.

The Proliferation Security Initiative to be held in the Persian Gulf on tomorrow

is part of a programme that could be used to halt North Korean weapons

traffic in accordance with UN sanctions.

It will be the first PSI drill since North Korea's October 9 nuclear test.

Despite pressure from Washington to fully participate in the PSI, South Korea

has voiced concerns that its participation in searching and inspecting North

Korean ships could lead to clashes with the North.

Navies of the rival Koreas had deadly naval battles in 1999 and 2002.

``We have not (fully) participated in the PSI because there is a high

possibility of armed clashes if the PSI is carried out in waters around the

Korean peninsula,'' Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said.

The participants in the Persian Gulf drill - the 25th exercise of the

three-year-old Proliferation Security Initiative - are Australia, Bahrain,

Britain, France, Italy and the US.

Washington has assembled 60 nations to join the Proliferation Security

Initiative.

The Initiative is an attempt to work with other navies and air forces to monitor

And potentially intercept ships or aircraft suspected of ferrying illicit materials

to rogue nations or to terrorists.

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