North Korea has rejected US President George W. Bush's proposal to give it multi-nation security assurances if it agrees to scrap its nuclear weapons program, calling the offer laughable and "not worth considering."
Earlier this week, Bush put forward a plan in which the US and four other nations would give North Korea written assurances it won't be attacked if it promises to dismantle its nuclear program.
North Korea, in a radio broadcast late Tuesday, reiterated that it would settle for nothing less than a formal nonaggression treaty that would legally bind the US not to launch a pre-emptive strike against it. Bush ruled out such a treaty, and instead hopes to craft a deal that would reassure North Korea about its security and bring it back to negotiations -- but without ruling out possible US military options when things went sour.
"It is a laughing matter and is not worth considering," the state North Korean Central Broadcasting Station said in a dispatch monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
"We have demanded that the United States drop its hostile policy toward the [North] and sign a bilateral nonaggression treaty with us. We have not demanded some kind of security guarantee."
Bush made his proposal at a summit of APEC leaders in Bangkok which was dominated by security issues including North Korea's nuclear threat. It would commit the US, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea to a no-invasion pledge.
Washington said that issues, such as when to offer a security pledge and exactly what North Korea would have to do beforehand, were still being debated.
North Korea fired at least one short-range missile off its east coast on Monday, rattling the gathering of Pacific Rim leaders and giving urgency to the yearlong nuclear crisis.
Bush's overture was a subtle yet significant shift in Washington's approach. The US had earlier insisted that North Korea created the nuclear crisis and must move first to end it. Pyongyang paid no heed and began taking steps that could give the country several more nuclear bombs in addition to the one or two it already is believed to possess.
Earlier this month, North Korea announced it completed reprocessing its stash of 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and began using plutonium extracted from them to build more atomic bombs. Last week, it indicated that it might test a bomb.
Pyongyang's main state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Tuesday the August talks "clearly proved the US true intention to totally disarm and destroy" North Korea.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies