By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Republic of South Korea has solicited the support of Nigeria for global and comprehensive ban on nuclear weapons as well as putting pressure on North nuclear to abandon its advanced nuclear programme for peace.
The Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Nuh Kyu-duk, made this call yesterday in Abuja during a roundtable discussion on current situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Kyu-duk commended Nigeria’s stand on nuclear weapons and urged for concerted global efforts to resolving the issue of nuclear arms proliferation in the world, especially the Korean Peninsula.
He noted that if Nigeria could step up its role and mount pressure for the enforcement of nuclear arms ban, it would enhance the country’s reputation.
“Nigeria is a country with heavy weight in the economic and political space in the international committee, so, we felt it is pertinent to intimate her of issues in the Korean Peninsula”, he stated.
The Ambassador noted that North Korea with a population of about 26 million people was keeping one million of the population as troops, while South Korea with a population of about 50 million had between 500,000/to 600,000 troops, adding that the North was more inclined to violence.
He said:” North Korea trade depends on China. In the year 2014, total volume of North was $7.61 billion and out of the $7.61 billion, $6.8 billion was with China and the remaining 10 percent with the other countries. So, almost 90 percent of North Korea trade is with China.
“Our bilateral trade volume between Nigeria and my country is $4.46 billion, almost 60 per cent of the whole trade of North.”
Speaking further, Kyu-duk accused the northern neighbours of spending $1.5 billion to develop nuclear weapons and $1.7 billion for missiles despite efforts by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to halt further works on weapons of mass destruction.
He deplored the fact that the amount North Korea was spending on the weapons was enough to feed her entire population and yet most of her citizens are poor and hungry.
Stressing that the resolve of North Korea to continue with nuclear weapons was not only a security threat to South Korea but a threat to global peace, Kyu-duk however maintained that South Korea was still open to dialogue.
Also speaking, the Under Secretary, Regions and International in Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Abel Ajoko, said that Nigeria is friendly with all countries of the world but is oppose to testing of nuclear weapons.
Ajoko said that “Nigeria believes North and South Korea are brothers so would support any move towards ensuring their peaceful coexistence”.
“The countries of Africa totally does not allow for testing of nuclear weapons and that is what Africa wants for the entire world”, he added.
Also speaking, the Director of Asian Studies, University of Calabar, Prof. Chris Nwamuo, called for more opportunities for dialogue.
Nwamuo also lauded objective of the roundtable, which was attended by students, civil society organisations and the media.