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Pakistan denies discussing nuclear deal with US

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Islamabad: Pakistan has denied a White House claim that it was working with the US towards a pact that would limit Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal, the media reported on Monday.

“No deal is being discussed between the two countries. Nor has the US made any demand on Pakistan,” foreign office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said here.

“History is a testimony to the fact that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accepts no demand from any state,” The Nation newspaper quoted him as saying.

The statement said the prime minister firmly believed in policies directed at preserving, protecting and promoting Pakistan’s national interests, the media reports said.

Sharif, who was to leave for the US on Sunday night, delayed his travel to receive briefing from the head of the ISI intelligence agency who returned from the US the same night.

Sharif’s key aides, Sartaj Aziz and Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, are already in Washington, meeting US officials on issues of bilateral interest and regional importance.

White House officials said on Thursday they have started talks that could ultimately govern the scale of Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal.

Such a deal, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, was based on US concerns that Pakistan could be on the verge of deploying a small tactical nuclear weapon – very similar to those placed in Europe by the US during the Cold War to deter Soviet Union.

“There has been a lot of public speculation about this,” Earnest said.

“At this point, the US has been engaged with Pakistan, as well as the rest of the international community, on issues related to nuclear safety and security.”

Earnest, however, added that the current climate of discussions between Washington and Islamabad were not at a level where officials might expect a deal to be reached by the time Sharif reaches the US on October 22.

Pakistani official sources were quoted as saying that Sharif would reach Washington on Tuesday after a night halt in London.

Before leaving Islamabad, Sharif said Pakistan was “a responsible sovereign nuclear state” and that “its strategic assets are secured under a foolproof arrangement”.

(IANS)

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North Korea Open To Nuclear Site Inspection: Report

The United States has stressed the importance of verification as it negotiates with the North about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a construction site in Yangdeok, in this undated photo released on Oct. 31, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.. VOA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is willing to allow inspectors into the reclusive country’s main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a senior diplomatic source.

“I understand that Chairman Kim told (South Korean) President Moon (Jae-in) during their summit in September that if the U.S. took corresponding steps he would not only be willing to shut down the Yongbyon nuclear facilities but also allow verification,” Yonhap quoted the source as saying.

nuclear
President Donald Trump shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-In at the Lotte New York Palace hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2018, in New York. VOA

​The source said Moon passed the message on to U.S. President Donald Trump when the two met during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

Kim had earlier expressed openness to shutting down the site if Washington took “corresponding” measures, but no offer to allow inspectors in to verify had been reported.

Asked about reports on Tuesday on North Korean willingness to allow inspectors in and whether there had been new developments, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she was “not aware of any of that,” but Kim had agreed to inspections in a meeting with Pompeo recently.

nuclear
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a long- and medium-range ballistic rocket launch drill in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, Aug. 30, 2017. VOA

“That’s something the secretary and Chairman Kim had agreed to and spoken about when the secretary was in Pyongyang about a month ago or so,” Nauert told reporters. “So that’s something they agreed to and we look forward to Chairman Kim fulfilling his commitments.”

Also Read: The Secret of The North Korean Hacker Army

It was not clear from her remarks whether Kim had specifically said inspectors could visit the Yongbyon facilities.

The United States has stressed the importance of verification as it negotiates with the North about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (VOA)