Pakistan denies N Korea nuclear deal

BBC
11/24/2002

Pakistan says there is “no truth whatsoever” in a US newspaper report that says it has been co-operating with North Korea on nuclear weapons technology.

The New York Times said on Saturday that North Korea had given Pakistan missile parts to enable its nuclear arsenal to reach “every strategic site in India”.

Pakistan, the paper said, had given North Korea designs for machinery and gas centrifuges that could be used to make highly enriched uranium for the country’s nuclear weapons programme.

Pakistan Government spokesman, Major-General Rashid Qureshi dismissed the report: “I do not know where the New York Times gets its information from,” he told Reuters news agency.

“I am convinced they [the New York Times] need to update their intelligence gathering system.”

‘Murky’

The New York Times estimated that nuclear arms cooperation between Pakistan and North Korea could “put at risk South Korea, Japan and 100,000 American troops in north-east Asia”.

It says the two countries began sharing military technology as early as 1993 when the Pakistani Prime Minister at the time, Benazir Bhutto, visited Pyongyang.

And it quotes unnamed US officials as saying that Pakistan has continued its “murky” relationship with North Korea even after Pakistan sided with the United States in its war against terrorism last year.
Nuclear ambitions

The North Koreans were reported to have acknowledged in October that they had a secret uranium enrichment project for making nuclear weapons. Last week the US intelligence agency, the CIA, released a report saying that North Korea was building a plant that could produce enough uranium for two or more nuclear weapons a year.

The New York Times says the US Government “has never publicly discussed the role of Pakistan in supplying that effort”.

It quoted American and South Korean officials as saying that the US administration regards Pakistan’s role “so critical” in its war against Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network that it has chosen to remain quiet on Pakistan’s role in nuclear proliferation.

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