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NKorea renews threat to 'bolster nuclear deterrent'

China says never helped NKorea develop nuclear ability
China has never helped North Korea develop its nuclear programmes, a top Chinese atomic energy official said in Beijing on Monday. "China has never had any cooperation with the DPRK (North Korea) in nuclear energy development," Wang Yiren, head of China's Atomic Energy Authority, said in response to a reporter's question. He was speaking on the sidelines of a nuclear energy conference in the Chinese capital. China is the isolated Stalinist state's closest political and economic ally. Trade between the two hit a record 2.79 billion dollars in 2008, up 41 percent from the year before, according to Chinese figures, with exports from China to its neighbour accounting for about two billion dollars of that. The communist regime said last week it would restart its nuclear programmes and abandon six-nation disarmament talks hosted by China to protest a statement from the United Nation's Security Council condemning its April 5 rocket launch. Pyongyang said the rocket put a satellite into orbit, but the United States and its allies believe it was a long-range missile test. The six-nation talks which also include the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia have sought to put an end to the nuclear capability of North Korea, which detonated an atomic device in 2006.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) April 19, 2009
North Korea Sunday renewed a threat to "bolster its nuclear deterrent" while lashing out at the UN Security Council for condemning the communist state's April 5 rocket launch.

Rodong Sinmun, the North's ruling communist party-published newspaper, denounced the UN action as a double-standard contrary to the universal right to use space peacefully.

"(North Korea) will bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defence, guarantee for the protection of the country's sovereignty, right to existence and supreme interests," Rodong said in a commentary.

"The day will surely come when those resorting to partiality, double-standards and arbitrary practices meet the punishment of the history."

Tensions remain high over the North's launch, which the United States and its allies say was a long-range missile test disguised as a satellite launch.

Pyongyang Tuesday announced it was quitting the six-nation talks on nuclear disarmament and would restart nuclear facilities in protest at a UN Security Council statement condemning the rocket launch.

US and UN nuclear inspectors were also expelled from the North.

The North's military warned Saturday it would "opt for increasing the nation's defence capability including nuclear deterrent in every way" as the communist state would no longer be bound by a 2007 agreement on nuclear disarmament, adopted at the six-party talks.

It also repeated a warning against South Korea's planned participation in a US-led initiative to curb trade in weapons of mass destruction.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak's government, which had wanted to announce its participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) immediately after the North's rocket launch, is delaying the announcement.

The North, a leading exporter of missiles in recent years, has said the South's joining of the PSI would be tantamount to a declaration of a war.

"The Lee group of traitors should never forget that Seoul is just 50 kilometres (31 miles) away" from the border, the North's military spokesman said Saturday, suggesting the South's capital is vulnerable to northern military attacks in case of war.

Seoul says its plan to join the PSI remains unchanged, and a government announcement will come after inter-Korean talks Tuesday.

In response to the North's latest military warning, Seoul's unification ministry said it was "lamentable" for Pyongyang to repeat intimidating words that undermine regional peace and stability.

"The government makes it clear that the PSI... is an initiative separate from inter-Korean relations and it is not a declaration of confrontation or a war against North Korea," the ministry said in a statement Sunday.

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NKorea needs time to make good on nuke threat: analysts
Seoul (AFP) April 17, 2009
North Korea will need a few months to carry out its defiant threat to restart its nuclear weapons programme, analysts say, giving diplomats time to try to persuade it to change course.

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