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NK Says US Plotting War Not More Talks

NKorean escapees tried to blackmail SKorea embassy: officials
Two North Korean refugees who took refuge in the South Korean embassy in Beijing attempted to blackmail the mission after stealing information, officials said Wednesday. The pair absconded from the embassy with a USB computer memory device last December, according to South Korea's foreign ministry, which confirmed the case after it was belatedly publicised by local media Wednesday. The ministry said the consul general in Beijing was relocated as a punishment after the refugees broke into an office to steal the device. A spokesman told AFP all embassies have been instructed to step up countermeasures against such thefts. He declined to say what information the memory device had contained, if money was paid to retrieve it or what happened to the pair. Yonhap news agency said the refugees had demanded "a huge sum" for returning the memory device. The agency said the drive contained a list of refugees from the communist North and other data. The embassy managed to locate them and quickly retrieve the information, Yonhap said. Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the pair sneaked into the consular section, stole the memory device and made a hole in the ceiling of an embassy building to run away. The embassy caught the pair but later released them without handing them over to Chinese police, it said. China treats North Korean refugees as economic migrants and repatriates them. More than 15,000 North Koreans have fled hunger and poverty to come to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 war, the vast majority in recent years. After crossing into China, many travel on to Southeast Asia in hopes of eventually reaching Seoul.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) May 5, 2009
North Korea vowed Tuesday it would not give up its nuclear weapons programme and accused the United States of working on new plans to attack the communist country.

The Korean peninsula is "on the brink of war because of a new war scheme by US hostile forces," the North's ruling party newspaper Rodon Sinmun said in an editorial.

It reiterated a promise by Pyongyang to bolster its deterrent, arguing the United States has been working on a new "nuclear war scenario for aggression."

"We are compelled to bolster our nuclear deterrent" as hostile forces have clarified their scheme to occupy North Korea by force, it added.

The North has made similar comments almost every day since threatening last week to carry out fresh nuclear and missile tests unless the United Nations apologises for condemning and punishing its April 5 rocket launch.

Pyongyang says the launch put communications satellite into orbit, but the United States, South Korea and Japan say it was a disguised missile test.

On Monday, the North's foreign ministry denounced Washington for trying to find an excuse for applying sanctions against Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council on April 13 slapped sanctions against North Korea, banning transactions and calling on UN member states to freeze the assets of three business entities of Pyongyang.

In protest, the North said it had started reprocessing spent fuel rods at its Yongbyon complex to make weapons-grade plutonium.

It had already announced it was quitting a six-nation nuclear disarmament pact with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Analysts say the North's threat to conduct a second nuclear test, following a first in October 2006, is aimed at forcing the United States to open direct negotiations.

earlier related report
North Korea's nuke plans 'extremely dangerous': EU presidency
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country holds the European Union presidency, said Sunday North Korea's nuclear plans were "extremely dangerous" and urged a renewal of six-nation disarmament talks.

"We consider North Korea's nuclear programme extremely dangerous," Topolanek said after talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso.

"The pressure for a renewal of the six-nation talks must continue," he added a day before the EU-Japan summit in Prague which will also deal with North Korea, according to the official programme.

The North Korean ruling party's newspaper said on Sunday the country would "further bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defence and mercilessly punish on behalf of the nation the gang daring challenge it".

Earlier on, North Korea threatened to conduct a second nuclear test and ballistic missile tests, and announced it was pulling out of a six-nation disarmament pact with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

The statements followed the UN's criticism of the North's rocket launch on April 5 -- Pyongyang said it put a peaceful satellite into orbit, but Japan, South Korea and the United States said it staged a disguised missile test.

The UN Security Council on April 13 slapped sanctions on North Korea, and the North then said in protest on April 18 that it had started reprocessing spent fuel rods at its Yongbyon complex to make weapons-grade plutonium.

Aso said that six-nation talks were "the most practial framework for the resolution of issues related to North Korea, and the most important thing is to resume them as soon as possible".

"We also agreed that North Korea should weigh the statements of the UN Security Council and comply with the council's resolutions adopted up to now," he added.

earlier related report
US NKorea envoy to region to urge renewed talks: official The US envoy for North Korea will depart for Asia Wednesday and then Russia in a bid to convince Pyongyang to resume stalled six-party nuclear disarmament talks, a US official said Tuesday.

Stephen Bosworth will head an "interagency delegation" first to Beijing, then Seoul, Tokyo and Moscow before returning to Washington on May 14, State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters.

"The purpose of this trip is to work with our allies to find a way forward in convincing the North to come back to the negotiating table," Wood said.

The delegation is due to arrive in Beijing on Thursday, travel to Seoul on Friday before visiting Tokyo on May 11 and traveling to Moscow on May 12.

The United States has been involved in negotiations with the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia aimed at scrapping North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for energy aid under a landmark six-party agreement signed in 2007.

The negotiations deadlocked late last year over a dispute with North Korea over how to verify disarmament before taking a sharp turn for the worse with North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket on April 5.

The North last week threatened to conduct a second nuclear test and ballistic missile tests unless the United Nations apologizes for condemning and punishing its rocket launch.

Pyongyang said it put a peaceful satellite into orbit but the United States, South Korea and Japan said it staged a disguised missile test.

The UN Security Council on April 13 slapped sanctions on North Korea, banning transactions and calling on UN member states to freeze the assets of three business entities of Pyongyang.

In protest, the North said it had started reprocessing spent fuel rods at its Yongbyon complex to make weapons-grade plutonium.

The North had already responded to the UN criticism by announcing it was quitting the six-nation nuclear disarmament pact.

Analysts say Pyongyang's threat to conduct a second nuclear test, following its first in October 2006, is aimed at forcing the United States to open direct negotiations.

The Obama administration has insisted on pursuing the six-party talks.

"The six- party talks, as we've said, are a viable framework," Wood said.

"The North has some obligations under that six-party framework. We all, in the international community, have an interest in seeing a denuclearized Korean Peninsula," he added.

Also making the tour is ambassador Sung Kim, the special envoy for the six-party talks who works under Bosworth, the special representative for North Korea policy.

A US State Department official, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, did not rule out a meeting between Bosworth's delegation and the North Koreans in Beijing or another capital.

But he did not know if the delegation had sent a message to the North Koreans asking for such a meeting.

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NKorea vows to bolster nuclear deterrent
Seoul (AFP) May 4, 2009
North Korea Monday vowed again to bolster its nuclear deterrent, saying the current US administration is "nothing different" from its predecessor.







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