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Pakistan Calls North Korea Nuclear Ties 'A Closed Chapter'

Pakistan's prime minister has said his country has shared with South Korea the limited information it has about North Korea's nuclear program, and that his government is in favor of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, speaking to reporters Thursday at the start of a three-day visit to South Korea, said Islamabad opposed the spread of nuclear weapons and reasserted that an illegal Pakistani nuclear smuggling ring had been shut down.

He said that all the information Islamabad had about North Korea's nuclear weapons programs had already been given to officials in Seoul.

"As regards any relationship or interaction with North Korea, we have none," he said. "This is a closed chapter. We have not much knowledge at all about their nuclear program."

Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the key figure in Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons, has been confined to his home for more than a year, after it was revealed that he had provided nuclear know-how to Iran and Libya.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says Mr. Khan operated entirely without the knowledge of the government.

Mr. Musharraf has confirmed that Mr. Khan also provided North Korea with centrifuges and centrifuge designs, which could be used to enrich uranium to make bomb material.

U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly closely scrutinized the Pakistan-North Korea connection in gathering evidence of a secret uranium-based weapons program that the United States says Pyongyang has. U.S. officials say North Korean officials privately admitted three years ago to having such a program, but Pyongyang has denied that in public.

The status of the North's uranium-enrichment capabilities is likely to be a major issue when multinational talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs resume in November.

China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the United States signed a statement this month with North Korea, committing Pyongyang in principle to ending its nuclear programs in exchange for economic and political incentives.