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Iran Nuclear Deal Could Boost Diplomacy with North Korea, Diplomat Says

Inter Press Service

The recent agreement between Iran and six nations on nuclear non-proliferation will likely have a “positive impact” on North Korea, according to a senior South Korean diplomat.

Choong-Hee Hanh, South Korea’s Deputy Permanent Representative and former Deputy Director-General for North Korean Nuclear Affairs, told IPS that the Iran nuclear deal bolsters the case for taking a multilateral approach to resolving sensitive international security issues.

“I think the Iran nuclear formula will give us a general hint that these issues should be dealt with in this multilateral approach,” he said. “I think that this case of diplomacy in Iran will (bring) pressure to North Korea and (create) awareness to international society about the benefits of utilising pressure to resolve these issues.”

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council in addition to Germany reached an agreement in Vienna last month to limit Tehran’s nuclear energy programme in order to prevent it from developing weapons. The U.N. Security Council promptly approved the deal, which capped prolonged negotiations.

Similar six-party negotiations involving North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and United States was begun in 2007 but it stalled in 2009 when North Korea pulled out. Pyongyang has since carried out nuclear tests and withdrawn from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

“I believe the Iranian case can lend a positive impact in North Korea,” Hahn said, but added a note of caution. “On the other hand, North Korea continuously argues that they are a nuclear weapon state according to their constitution. They may think they should not abandon their nuclear weapons programme for the survival of the regime, so it seems not easy to resolve this issue.”

While China, Japan, Russia and the U.S. shared the objective of preventing the nuclearisation of North Korea, he said, “At the same time, their priorities are a little bit different.”

“The Six-Party Talks are meaningful as it is an opportunity to explore the bottom line of North Korea’s mindset on this issue as well as a shared perception among five parties,” he added. “I think this shared perception of five parties on the situation is very important to taking the next step and moving forward.”

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