N. Korea Urged to Rethink Nuclear Stance
SOUTH Korean President Kim Young Sam urged North Korea March 16 to immediately reverse its decision to withdraw from international nuclear controls, warning that it was isolating itself from the world community.
The decision by the reclusive Communist nation to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and evade inspections of its nuclear facilities has heightened anxieties that it has nuclear weapons. Mr. Kim said major powers with interests in the region were being asked to help defuse the crisis.
There was no indication hostilities were imminent, but Mr. Kim said South Korea and its allies should be fully prepared to handle any state of emergency.
Troops along both sides of the heavily fortified border were on high alert. The South Korean Defense Minister Kwon Young Hae said Seoul may ask for a prolonged stay by United States troops brought into South Korea for joint military exercises.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency will hold an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the North Korean move, and may then refer the case to the UN Security Council, which would have the right to impose economic sanctions.