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NKorea's Kim praises military amid nuclear standoff

Clinton: Pyongyang's provocations 'deeply regrettable'
North Korea's continued provocations are "deeply regrettable," top US diplomat Hillary Clinton said Saturday, vowing to do "all we can" to halt Pyongyang's nuclear proliferation. Her comments came after the reclusive communist regime defiantly vowed to build more nuclear bombs and to start enriching uranium for a new atomic weapons program following the UN Security Council's unanimous vote Friday to impose tougher sanctions for Pyongyang's nuclear test. "We intend to do all we can to prevent continued proliferation by the North Koreans," Clinton told reporters at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side of the border with the United States. "The North Koreans' continuing provocative actions are deeply regrettable." The North Koreans, Clinton said, "have now been denounced by everyone. They have become further isolated. And it is not in the interests of the people of North Korea for that kind of isolation to continue." The North, describing the sanctions resolution as a "vile product" of a US-inspired campaign, said it would never abandon nuclear weapons and would treat any attempt to blockade it as an act of war. The international pressure, the North said, is aimed to "disarm us and suffocate economically" in order to dismantle the ideology and system chosen by its people. US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice warned on Friday that the tough new UN sanctions could prompt Pyongyang to react with "further provocation." Rice said that the United States would now confront any ships believed to be carrying suspect material to North Korea and ask to board them to carry out checks. If US authorities get information that a boat is suspected of carrying banned material to North Korea, they would immediately alert all ports on its route, she added.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) June 14, 2009
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has heaped praise on the military as his country defies United Nations sanctions by vowing to increase its nuclear arsenal, state media said Sunday.

Kim, who inspected the frontline 7th Infantry Division, remarked on their "militant training spirit and set forth the tasks for increasing its combat ability in every way," the North's official news agency said.

It did not say when the visit was made.

The report came one day after Pyongyang vowed to build more nuclear bombs and start enriching uranium for a new atomic weapons programme after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions following its May 25 nuclear test.

United States Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday Washington would seek to enforce a UN resolution sanctioning North Korea following its recent provocative moves.

"We are going to enforce the UN resolution," Biden told NBC television in his home state of Delaware.

"North Korea is a very destabilizing element in east Asia, everyone realizes that -- the Chinese realize it, the Russians realize it. They've gone further than they've ever gone in joining us on real sanctions against North Korea."

The UN's 15-member Security Council had voted unanimously Friday to slap tougher sanctions on the North to cripple its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

"It is important that we make those sanctions stick," Biden said.

Resolution 1874, which does not authorise the use of force, calls for tighter inspections of cargo suspected of containing banned missile and nuclear-related items, a stricter arms embargo and new targeted financial curbs to choke off revenue for the nuclear and missile sectors.

It also demands that the North "not conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology" and abandon all nuclear weapons and programmes "in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner".

The North, in its angry response Saturday, said all new plutonium it extracts would be used to make weapons.

One third of used fuel rods from the Yongbyon reactor have so far been reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium, it said.

"Secondly, we will start uranium enrichment," it said in its first admission that it has such a programme -- a second route to a nuclear bomb.

Tadatoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima, one of the two Japanese cities obliterated by US atom bombs during World War II, said Sunday he was "furious" over North Korea's latest move, according to the Jiji Press agency.

"This means a grave challenge for the international community, which can never be forgivable," Akiba said.

In 2002, the North denied US claims that it was operating a secret uranium enrichment programme in addition to its admitted plutonium-based operation.

The plutonium-producing plants were shut down under a 2007 six-nation disarmament deal. But Pyongyang vowed to restart them after the Security Council in April condemned its long-range rocket launch.

"It has become an absolutely impossible option for the DPRK (North Korea) to even think about giving up its nuclear weapons," a statement from the North said, adding that any attempted blockade would be considered an act of war "and met with a decisive military response".

US intelligence officials believe it will respond with a third atomic test, according to sources quoted by American TV networks.

Pyongyang followed up its last nuclear test by launching short-range missiles, renouncing the armistice on the Korean peninsula and threatening possible attacks on South Korea.

Seoul, which has sent 600 Marine reinforcements to two border islands, denounced the North's latest statement as "a grave challenge" to international efforts to promote regional peace.

earlier related report
NKorea vows to build more nuclear bombs after UN sanctions
A defiant North Korea vowed Saturday to build more nuclear bombs and start enriching uranium for a new atomic weapons programme after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions for its nuclear test.

Washington's top diplomat Hillary Clinton responded by saying that the United States intends "to do all we can to prevent continued proliferation by the North Koreans".

"The North Koreans' continuing provocative actions are deeply regrettable," she told reporters at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side of the border with the US.

The North earlier described Friday's sanctions resolution as a "vile product" of a US-inspired campaign and said it would never abandon nuclear weapons and would treat any attempt to blockade it as an act of war.

The 15-member Council voted unanimously Friday to slap tougher sanctions on the North to cripple its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

The hardline communist state, in a foreign ministry statement reported by its official news agency, said all new plutonium it extracts would be weaponised.

One third of used fuel rods from the Yongbyon reactor have so far been reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium, it said.

"Secondly, we will start uranium enrichment," it said in its first admission that it has such a programme -- a second route to a nuclear bomb.

In 2002, the North denied US claims that it was operating a secret uranium enrichment programme in addition to its admitted plutonium-based operation.

The plutonium-producing plants were shut down under a 2007 six-nation disarmament deal. But Pyongyang vowed to restart them after the Security Council in April condemned its long-range rocket launch.

"It has become an absolutely impossible option for the DPRK (North Korea) to even think about giving up its nuclear weapons," the statement said, adding that any attempted blockade would be considered an act of war "and met with a decisive military response."

It added: "No matter how hard the US-led hostile forces may try all sorts of isolation and blockade, the DPRK, a proud nuclear power, will not flinch from them."

Resolution 1874 passed Friday, which does not authorise the use of force, calls on UN member states to expand sanctions imposed after the North's initial nuclear test in October 2006.

It calls for tougher inspections of cargo suspected of containing banned missile- and nuclear-related items, a tighter arms embargo and new targeted financial curbs to choke off revenue for the nuclear and missile sectors.

It also "demands that the DPRK not conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology" and abandon all nuclear weapons and programmes "in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."

While UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the resolution sent a "clear and strong message" to North Korea, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said it would be no surprise if Pyongyang "reacted to this very tough sanctions regime in a fashion that would be further provocation."

US intelligence officials believe it will respond with a third atomic test, according to sources quoted by American TV networks.

Pyongyang followed up its May 25 nuclear test by launching short-range missiles, renouncing the armistice on the Korean peninsula and threatening possible attacks on South Korea.

Seoul, which has sent 600 Marine reinforcements to two border islands, denounced the North's statement as "a grave challenge" to international efforts to promote peace in the region.

"The government, together with the international community, will sternly deal with North Korea's uranium enrichment programme as well as its plutonium," a foreign ministry statement said.

The claim to have developed uranium enrichment technology is alarming, said Professor Yang Moo-Jin, of Seoul's University of North Korean Studies.

"The North has abundant natural uranium of good quality which, if combined with technology and facilities, would result in a great nuclear arsenal," he told AFP.

"This means the US policy to disarm the North by sanctions simply did not work."

Baek Seung-Joo, of the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses, said Pyongyang "will face a strong backlash from the international community for lying in the past about its uranium enrichment programme."

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SKorea mulls response to NKorea's demands over Kaesong
Seoul (AFP) June 12, 2009
South Korea mulled its response Friday after North Korea demanded huge extra payments for a jointly-run industrial estate, casting doubt over the future of their last reconciliation project. The demands were made Thursday at a meeting already overshadowed by the North's nuclear test and a sharp rise in border tensions, after Pyongyang scrapped the armistice in force on the peninsula. The ... read more







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