North Korea tested US patience yesterday, pressing on with a plan to reactivate a nuclear power plant at the center of a Cold War weapons crisis and demanding a US apology over the interception of a ship carrying Scud missiles.
But Washington, which has threatened to go to war with Iraq to rid it of weapons of mass destruction, insisted that each case was different and said it was looking for a diplomatic solution to keep the peace on the Korean peninsula.
In related developments, Iran brushed off US suggestions that two of its nuclear facilities might be used to build weapons, saying its nuclear energy program was strictly for civilian use. In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, UN weapons experts searched a missile plant.
US President George W. Bush, who in January branded North Korea, Iraq and Iran as members of an "axis of evil," made clear that Washington was not looking for a showdown with North Korea.
"Not every issue requires a potential military response. There's ways to keep the peace through diplomatic pressure, through alliance and that's what we're doing in the Korean peninsula," he said.
The US and its allies ratcheted up that pressure after North Korea said on Thursday that it would restart a reactor mothballed in 1994 after an international crisis over alleged production of weapons-grade plutonium there.
North Korea's latest move -- which it said had been forced on it by a US-led decision to suspend oil aid -- had the trappings of an attempt to force Washington to the negotiating table.
The crisis is the second this week to involve North Korea following the interception of a North Korean ship carrying Scud missiles for Yemen in the Arabian Sea on Monday. Yesterday, North Korea demanded a US apology for "unpardonable piracy."
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in Australia, echoed Bush's line.
"We believe that the situation on the Korean Peninsula lends itself to the possibility of a diplomatic solution given that the nations in the immediate area, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and the United States, all share absolutely the same view that the peninsula must be denuclearized," he said in Sydney.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said North Korea's statement "flies in the face of international consensus that the North Korean regime must fulfil all its commitments, in particular dismantle its nuclear weapons program."
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s