Wed, Oct 08, 2003 - Page 5 News List

N Korea won't deal with Japan

SUMMIT Pyongyang said that the Japanese had a separate agenda for a new round of nuclear talks, but Tokyo refused to accept that the North had the power of veto

REUTERS AND AP , SEOUL

North Korea said yesterday it would not allow Japan to take part in any future multilateral talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, but Japan said it would not accept the notion Pyongyang could decide who attends.

A statement from the North Korean Foreign Ministry, published by the official KCNA news agency, said Japan had linked other bilateral problems to the talks, such as the past abduction by North Korea of Japanese nationals.

Japan joined China, Russia, South Korea and the US in an inconclusive first round of nuclear talks with North Korea in Beijing in late August. The North has since said it is not interested in more talks on a crisis which erupted a year ago.

"A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry said in a statement today that the DPRK would not allow Japan to participate in any form of negotiations for the settlement of the nuclear issue in the future," KCNA said.

DPRK are the initials of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The nuclear issue is not a bilateral issue between Japan and North Korea, but is of serious consequence to the region and the international community," Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hatsuhisa Takashima told reporters.

"We do not accept any notion that a certain country in the six-party talks can be banned by any other party. The six-party talks are formed with the participation of those countries that are gravely concerned with the issue."

The North Korean statement said Japan's leaders had the "black-hearted intention" of using the talks to try to bolster the Japanese economy and their own political positions.

"Japan is nothing but an obstacle to the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the US," said the statement. "It has lost its qualification to be a trustworthy dialogue partner."

The North's statement implied there was the possibility of further multilateral talks -- a significant shift from its earlier stated intention of avoiding more negotiations.

Meanwhile, North Korea yesterday denounced the US military for flying its newest unmanned spy planes near the communist state's border, calling the deployment a preparation to invade.

"The US imperialists' new step indicates that their espionage on the [North] has entered a full-dressed stage and the danger of the second Korean war is growing," said Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's main state-run newspaper.

Rodong's commentary was carried by the North's official KCNA news agency.

Last month, the US military began flying the Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to monitor North Korean military activities along the 4km wide, 249km long Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas.

Citing the deployment of the spy planes, Rodong questioned Washington's sincerity in finding a peaceful resolution to end North Korea's suspected development of nuclear weapons.

"Their talk about a `peaceful solution' is a reversed ballad of war," it said.

Shadow planes have a 4m wingspan. They fly at an altitude of between 3,000m and 4,200m and can carry up to 27kg of surveillance equipment.

The US military acknowledges monitoring North Korean military activity but says it is done without entering North Korean air space by flying in South Korean or international air space.

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