Mon, May 16, 2005 - Page 5 News List

North Korea calls Rice `a brazen liar'

AFP , SEOUL

North Korea has expressed distrust over overtures by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seeking to bring the communist state back into six-way nuclear talks.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said late Saturday Rice's recent comments calling Pyongyang a sovereign state -- which was seen by Seoul as a conciliatory gesture by Washington -- were just a "ruse."

Citing a "hostile" US policy among others, the North has boycotted the six-way nuclear talks -- which also include the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan -- for 11 months.

The spokesman told the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that Rice appeared on CNN on Thursday to accuse Pyongyang of violating a 1994 nuclear safeguard deal and call it a "terrible regime."

"Rice's reckless remarks self-exposed that her loudmouthed recognition of the `sovereign state' and the like were nothing but a ruse to conceal the US attempt at `bringing down the regime' of the DPRK [North Korea] and mislead the public opinion," the spokesman said.

He called Rice a "brazen-faced liar" while repeating the call by Pyongyang that the 1994 deal collapsed due to Washington "inventing the rumor about the nonexistent `enriched uranium program' of the DPRK."

Since her Asian tour in March, Rice has publicly acknowledged the North's status as a sovereign country while urging Pyongyang to return to the talks.

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