North Korea yesterday threatened to employ a pre-emptive attack, while also claiming it was committed to the six-party talks.
The North poured out anti-US rhetoric -- a tactic it has used in the past before entering negotiations -- claiming that Washington's "hostile policies" led it to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent, and warning against any attack to dislodge its leadership.
"The United States should be aware that the choice of a pre-emptive attack is not only theirs," the North's official news agency quoted the Cabinet newspaper Minju Joson as saying. "To stand against force with force is our unswerving method of response."
The commentary came amid a flurry of contacts aimed at convincing the North to resume six-nation talks, suspended since the third round ended last June, on its nuclear program.
Washington is awaiting a response to an overture it made May 13 -- days after the North announced it had removed fuel rods from a reactor, a possible step toward extracting weapons-grade plutonium -- at North Korea's office at the UN.
South Korea repeatedly raised the nuclear issue last week during its first face-to-face talks with the North in 10 months. Pyongyang refused to allow a mention of the issue in a final joint statement, but it agreed to follow-up meetings.
The two countries were holding talks yesterday in the North Korean border village of Kaesong on working out details of a South Korean delegation's visit to Pyongyang next month for the fifth anniversary of a historic summit accord.
There have been reports that President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) may be arranging a visit to Pyongyang. South Korean opposition leader Park Geun-hye met with Hu on Tuesday, and the South's Yonhap news agency quoted Hu as saying it will take time to overcome the mistrust between the North and the US.
"There would be a degree of difficulty in resuming the six-nation talks for a while," Hu was quoted as saying. "In recent days, North Korea and the United States have been sending positive messages. This looks like evidence that the two countries haven't completely shut their doors to dialogue and negotiations."
Yonhap also reported that South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will meet with Bush in Washington on June 10 to discuss ways to bring the North back to nuclear disarmament talks. Roh's office wouldn't confirm the report.
North Korea on Tuesday repeated claims that its nuclear weapons protect regional peace.
"It is in the East Asian region, including the Korean Peninsula, where the US moves for vicious attacks and war ... are carried out most seriously," the Minju Joson said. "It is our nuclear deterrent that basically guarantees peace and stability."
Also see story:
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient