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N. Korea warns of 'emergency measure' on nuclear issue

Saturday, June 21, 2003

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea warned Friday it will take a "strong emergency measure" if the United States takes the dispute over the communist state's nuclear weapons programs to the U.N. Security Council.

The United States is seeking a council statement to condemn North Korea's nuclear programs and demand that they be immediately dismantled "in a verifiable and irreversible manner."

"If the U.S. brings the DPRK's issue up for U.N. debate, it will react to it with a strong emergency measure," said Pyongyang's state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun in a commentary carried by official North Korean news agency KCNA.

DPRK is short for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

The United States has insisted on multilateral talks, while the North wants bilateral negotiations with Washington, but recently said it might consider talks involving several nations if it could also meet one-on-one with the United States.

Washington wants the multilateral talks to include Russia, China, South Korea and Japan, arguing that all four countries are affected.

To build up international pressure, Washington wants the Security Council to condemn North Korea's "breach of its international obligations" under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, according to a U.S. draft statement.

Rodong said Washington's insistence on multilateral talks was designed to secure a justification to ignite another Korean War."

"Such moves of the U.S. compel the DPRK to discard any expectation for the multilateral talks proposed by Washington," it said "The DPRK has no alternative but to build up a powerful war deterrent force as long as the U.S. pursues the policy to stifle it."

The council on April 9 refused to act on a U.S. request to condemn North Korea for pulling out of the treaty because of opposition from China and Russia, which have close ties to Pyongyang.

The nuclear dispute flared in October when U.S. officials said North Korea admitted it had a clandestine nuclear program in violation of a 1994 agreement with Washington.

The United States and its allies suspended fuel shipments promised under the 1994 deal, and Pyongyang retaliated by expelling U.N. monitors, restarting facilities capable of making nuclear bombs and withdrawing from the nonproliferation treaty.


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