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NKorea Vows No Compromise As It Threatens Military Buildup

The Bush administration has said North Korea is secretly developing a nuclear program in violation of a 1994 accord that offered US security guarantees and the construction of light-water reactors in exchange for Pyongyang halting its nuclear drive.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Apr 13, 2006
North Korea on Thursday vowed no compromise on its nuclear program and said it would keep boosting its military amid the stalemate in six-nation disarmament talks. "There is no room for us to be flexible," North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan told reporters in Tokyo at the end of a private conference that brought envoys from the six nations in the stalled talks.

"Even if the six-way talks are delayed, it is no problem for us. We will only increase our protective measures while the talks are delayed," he said.

The North declared last year that it had nuclear weapons, deepening a standoff that reopened in 2002 when the United States accused Pyongyang of secretly enriching uranium.

North Korea has shunned six-nation talks since November to protest US financial sanctions imposed over allegations that the regime was counterfeiting dollars and laundering money through a bank in Macau.

"We consider the position of the United States and its sanctions to be pressure and very aggressive," Kim said.

Referring to the deadlock in negotiations, Kim said: "If they don't like it, the United States should make a situation for us to return to the nuclear talks as soon as possible, which means solving the problem of Macau."

US chief envoy Christopher Hill refused to see Kim on the sidelines of the security conference here, saying that Pyongyang must first commit to returning to the multilateral negotiations.

Kim denied feeling snubbed, saying it was an "achievement for us" to meet bilaterally with China, Japan, Russia and South Korea -- the other nations in the nuclear talks that began in 2003.

"The US delegation came to Japan just to get away from being held responsible for the stalled six-way talks," Kim said.

US President George W. Bush in 2002 labelled North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the Islamic regime in Iran, enraging Pyongyang.

The Bush administration later said North Korea was secretly developing a nuclear program in violation of a 1994 accord that offered US security guarantees and the construction of light-water reactors in exchange for Pyongyang halting its nuclear drive.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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