posted on Mar, 29 2003 @ 11:58 AM
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea vowed on Saturday to resist all international demands on the communist state to allow nuclear inspections or agree to
disarm, saying Iraq had made this mistake and was now paying the price.
"The DPRK would have already met the same miserable fate as Iraq's had it compromised its revolutionary principle and accepted the demand raised by
the imperialists and its followers for "nuclear inspection" and disarmament," the ruling party daily Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary.
DPRK is an acronym for the state's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Pyongyang's latest comments came as U.S. commanders running the invasion of Iraq ordered a pause in a northward push toward Baghdad due to stiff
resistance and short supplies. On the divided Korean peninsula, meanwhile, American and South Korean forces allied against the North conducted field
exercises involving mock battles and amphibious landings.
"The DPRK will increase its self-defensive capability and fully demonstrate its might under the uplifted banner of the army-based policy," Rodong
A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry declined immediate comment.
North Korea shocked the region five years ago when it fired a long-range ballistic missile over Japan, historically a foe of Korea. The North is
currently deadlocked with the United States over Pyongyang's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Earlier on Saturday, South Korea's unification minister sought to calm frayed nerves on the peninsula by assuring a parliamentary committee the
United States has no intention to attack North Korea.
"Concerns felt by the (South Korean) public and voiced by the media of a potential U.S. attack on North Korea are not based on true facts," another
Unification Ministry official quoted Minister Jeong Se-hyun as telling lawmakers.
"There has been no mention by U.S. government officials of an attack against North Korea," Jeong was quoted as saying.
The latest crisis began in October, when U.S. officials said North Korea had admitted covertly working to develop nuclear arms.
Pyongyang insists any nuclear program it may have would be purely defensive in face of what it perceives as a U.S. military threat to its very
The impoverished Stalinist state has embarked on a campaign to force Washington to enter direct talks and negotiate a non-aggression pact. Washington
prefers a multilateral approach.
Over the past month, North Korea has intercepted a U.S. spy plane in international airspace and test-fired two short-range missiles. A Japanese report
said the North may soon test-fire a longer-range missile capable of hitting major Japanese cities.
Meanwhile, high-ranking South Korean officials sounded out major powers for a peaceful resolution to Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
In Washington, South Korea's Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan met Secretary of State Colin Powell and suggested that the United States take the
initiative toward North Korea along the lines of the Nixon administration's overtures to communist China in the 1970s.
Powell told reporters after his meeting that Yoon had given him some ideas to deal with North Korea, but Washington still thought a multilateral forum
was the best idea.
Seoul's Defense Minister Cho Young-kil met his Japanese counterpart Shigeru Ishiba in Seoul on Saturday and reiterated South Korea's policy of
dealing with North Korea through talks.
Relations between the two Koreas, locked in a tense standoff since the 1950-53 Korean War, warmed significantly in 2000 when the South's then
president, Kim Dae-jung, held a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Subsequent rapprochement efforts slowed to a trickle after President Bush took office the following year signaling a more hard-line approach to North
He later bracketed the isolated Stalinist state together with Iraq and Iran in an "axis of evil," accused of seeking to acquire and spread weapons
of mass destruction.