North Korea to Withdraw from Non-Proliferation Treaty

North Korea has decided to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty, reported Hsinhua agency from Pyongyang with reference to the central Korean radio station. North Korea's decision was confirmed on Friday morning by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The decision of the North Korean government to withdraw from the Treaty, the agency declared, was taken because of the "serious situation when sovereignty of the Korean nation and North Korea's security are being violated as a result of the hostile policy of the USA towards North Korea." The KCNA statement also stresses that Pyongyang is not going to develop nuclear weapons. At the present stage, the statement says, North Korea will work in the nuclear sphere only for civilian purposes, in particular for the production of electric power.

The Hsinhua agency points out that last December Pyongyang hinted at the possibility of its withdrawal from the Treaty. Now, the North Korean leadership states that it is free as far as its obligations before the IAEA are concerned.

Observers in Beijing believe that the latest Pyongyang decision can lead to the escalation of the conflict around the nuclear problem in the Korean peninsula.

North Korea joined the Treaty in December 1985, but in March 1993 it withdrew from it. After the conclusion of an agreement with the USA in Geneva in October 1994, North Korea again joined this document.

The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty came into force in 1970 and in 1995 was prolonged for an indefinite period of time. By now, the Treaty has been ratified by 170 states. In compliance with this document, nuclear powers committed themselves to providing no nuclear weapons to other countries and to seeking disarmament. Non-nuclear states, in their turn, committed themselves to developing, producing and possessing no nuclear weapons.