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South Korea concerned over safety of North Korea's nuclear facilities

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Min Dong-seok expresses concern over safety of North Korea's Nuclear Facilities and calls for International Cooperation in Nuclear Safety.

1. Min Dong-seok, 2nd Vice Foreign Minister, attending the “Summit on Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy” in Kiev, Ukraine, delivered a keynote address on April 19 and expressed concern over the safety of North Korea’s nuclear facilities. He also stressed that following the nuclear accident in Japan, regional cooperation among Korea, China and Japan and international cooperation in the field of nuclear safety need to be strengthened.

Vice Minister Min addressed the need to enhance regional cooperation in nuclear safety including cooperation among Korea, China and Japan. He was convinced that the IAEA’s convening of a Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety in June (6.20-24) will provide an excellent opportunity for strengthening international cooperation.

2. Vice Minister Min pointed out that North Korea’s uranium enrichment program (UEP) is a clear violation of the Joint Statement of 2005 and UN Security Council resolutions, and asked the international community for a resolute and unified response to the North’s nuclear weapons development. He also voiced concern over the safety of North Korea’s nuclear facilities as well as its nuclear capabilities, and urged Pyongyang to abandon all nuclear programs including UEP and comply with the obligations under NPT and IAEA safeguards.

3. In addition, Vice Minister Min explained about Korea’s preparations for the upcoming 2012 Nuclear Security Summit as its host. He also called on the countries to pay keen attention to nuclear security such as nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety, and requested the participating countries for their interest in and support for the upcoming 2012 Nuclear Security Summit.

4. Marking the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, the Kiev Summit on Safe and Innovative Use of Nuclear Energy was attended by the international organizations and 65 countries, mainly countries which use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and those affected by the Chernobyl accident. The Summit attracted a lot of attention as it took place amid significantly increased international interest in nuclear safety in the wake of the March 11 earthquake followed by a nuclear accident in Japan.

5. Major participants of the Summit include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Prime Minister Putin, Kazakh President Nazarbayev, US Secretary of Energy Chu, IAEA Director General Amano and European Commission President Barroso.

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