Seoul (AFP) Aug 26, 2008
North Korea said Tuesday that it has stopped disabling its nuclear plants and will consider restoring the Yongbyon complex as it accused the United States of violating a six-nation disarmament deal.
The hardline communist state said that because the United States had failed to remove it from a terrorism blacklist, work to make the plants unusable had halted on August 14.
"As the US refused to carry out the... agreement, a grave obstacle to the settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula has been created," a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.
"Secondly, we will consider restoring the Yongbyon facilities to their original state in accordance with strong demands from our relevant agencies."
Washington says the North must accept procedures to verify a declaration of its nuclear activities before it can be removed from the blacklist, which blocks US economic aid and assistance from multilateral bodies.
The North Korean statement rejected US demands for strict procedures to verify the document delivered in June.
"It would be a big mistake if the US believes that it can carry out a search of our home as it did in Iraq as it pleased."
The North's statement questioned the value of six-party negotiations which began in August 2003 and group the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.
"When the six-party talks have degenerated into a circus where the strong bullies the weak as it pleases, what's the use of the six-party structure?" it asked.
The North tested an atomic weapon for the first time in October 2006, but later that month agreed to return to denuclearisation talks.
Under a deal reached last year, it began disabling the plutonium-producing reactor and other plants at Yongbyon last November under US supervision.
It says 80 percent of the work has been completed.
The day after handing over the declaration, the North blew up the cooling tower at Yongbyon in a televised display of its commitment to the process.
The latest statement -- issued as Chinese President Hu Jintao is currently visiting South Korea -- said the US failure to act "is a clear breach of the agreement" since verification is not a precondition for delisting.
"Verification is a duty to be carried out by every party that should come at the last stage of the denuclearisation of the whole Korean peninsula," it went on.
US and North Korean officials held talks in New York last week, but failed to break the impasse over verification. The United States reportedly wants to conduct sampling of materials, unannounced visits and inspections of unreported facilities.
The North said Washington "has been pressing us to accept inspections in which they may visit wherever they want, collect samples and take measurements as they please."
It likened these demands to special inspections demanded by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the 1990s, "in breach of our sovereignty and which subsequently caused us to leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."
"The US is making a robber-like demand that it will carry out unilateral inspections of us... throwing away the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in which the removal of the US nuclear threat is at the centre.
"We don't mind staying in the list of countries which are not humbled by the US."
earlier related report
Hu and Han also agreed to strengthen energy and economic cooperation, the office said in a statement.
On the first day of the Chinese leader's visit on Monday, the two countries agreed on a variety of measures to strengthen relations established 16 years ago between the former Cold War adversaries.
Hu and President Lee Myung-Bak called for regular dialogue between top diplomats and defence officials. They reconfirmed their commitment to persuade North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons through six-nation negotiations chaired by China.
And the presidents agreed to increase their annual trade volume to 200 billion dollars by 2010, from 145 billion last year.
China since 2003 has hosted six-nation nuclear negotiations which also involve the two Koreas, the United States, Russia and Japan.
Under an aid-for-disarmament deal reached last year, the North is disabling its atomic complex and has handed over details of its plutonium-based nuclear programme.
But it cannot agree with the United States on ways to verify the declaration.
Hu and Han "exchanged views on the global energy price increase and its effect on the global economy and agreed to strengthen cooperation on energy buying and saving," Han's office said. No details were given.
They then attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding on suppporting each other's upcoming Expo events. China and South Korea will host industrial expositions in Shanghai in 2010 and in Yeosu in 2012.
Earlier Tuesday Lee showed Hu Seoul Forest, one of his most prized environmental projects when he was the capital's mayor.
They discussed closer cooperation in "green growth" in front of about 250 youth representatives from both countries.
The 286 acre (114 hectare) riverside public park was opened in 2005.
The two leaders exchanged views on environmentally friendly urban development, the use of clean energy and green growth, and planted a commemorative pine.
Hu was to have lunch with business leaders and leave Tuesday afternoon for a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Tajikistan.
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North Korea Vows To Bolster War Deterrent As Talks Restart
Seoul (AFP) Aug 24, 2008
North Korea vowed Sunday it would bolster its "war deterrent" as it denounced last week's annual US-South Korean joint military exercise.
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