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WCC asks for peaceful, lawful and collective response to North Korean nuclear test

WCC asks for peaceful, lawful and collective response to North Korean nuclear test

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on a wall of TV screens in Seoul

09 October 2006

As news on the North Korean nuclear test is breaking on 9 October, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia asks for the response to be peaceful, lawful and collective.

In a letter addressed to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and the UN ambassadors of North Korea and its neighbours, South Korea and Japan, Kobia asks that the crisis be resolved "politically" through negotiations, as well as "legally" by strengthening "the spirit and the letter of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)".

While acknowledging that any such test is a "new regional threat to world security," Kobia affirms that North Korean nuclear testing "must not be allowed to cause a chain reaction" involving other countries in the region.

The test does indeed add "new urgency to a successful outcome from the Six-Party Talks". In the interests of such an outcome, participants should give "due consideration" to North Korea's concern for its security, while the latter should "abandon its nuclear weapons programme and make a verified return to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapons state".

Kobia sees the case in point as a "frightening evidence of the permissive erosion of nuclear weapons control," and as a "dangerous consequence of the failure to meet international political obligations and commitments especially among those governments who have taken up nuclear arms, openly or otherwise".

Hence, the WCC general secretary calls on the signatory governments to fulfil their obligations under the NPT, and for those outside the treaty to join it as non-nuclear-weapons states. The letter is copied to the ambassadors of India, Pakistan and Israel, three states that have not signed the NPT.

Full text of Kobia's 9 October letter regarding North Korean nuclear test

Background information on the WCC's work on nuclear disarmament