13 January 2003

Secretary-General Urges Democratic People's Republic of Korea to Reconsider Withdrawal from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

NEW YORK, 10 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General regrets the announcement by the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea of its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and strongly urges reconsideration of this decision. The NPT is the lynchpin of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, and with 188 States parties is the most widely subscribed to multilateral treaty in this area.

No State party to the NPT has ever withdrawn from the Treaty in the 33 years since its entry into force. While noting the denial by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea of any intentions to acquire nuclear weapons, the Secretary-General stresses the importance of adhering to treaties and their legal obligations in achieving international peace and security in accordance with international law. He takes this opportunity to reiterate that the problems regarding the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear programme must be resolved through peaceful dialogue.

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