Mon, Aug 28, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Kim Jong-il faults close allies China and Russia as unreliable, report says

AP AND AFP , TOKYO AND SEOUL

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has criticized close allies China and Russia as unreliable and said the country must overcome difficulties it faces on its own, according to a news report.

Kim's skepticism toward China and Russia was conveyed at a meeting in Pyongyang last month of the North's ambassadors to other countries shortly after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution condemning the North's test-firing of missiles, Kyodo News agency reported on Saturday from New York, quoting unnamed diplomatic officials.

Kim himself did not attend the hastily called July 18 to July 22 meeting and senior officials were believed to have conveyed his views, Kyodo said.

The officials quoted Kim as saying that North Korea should "try to resolve all challenges by ourselves," according to Kyodo.

The North stoked regional tensions last month by test-firing seven missiles, drawing the resolution banning UN member states from transferring missile-building materials or technology to the country.

Kim also instructed the ambassadors at the meeting to help "implement" an order issued last month to strengthen the country's so-called deterrent power -- indicating it could test-fire more missiles and continue its nuclear development, Kyodo reported. The report did not elaborate on details of his instruction.

The North also said it will take "all necessary counter-measures" against US financial sanctions.

A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said, in a first response late on Saturday to intensifying US hunts for Pyongyang-owned bank accounts overseas, that Washington was ratcheting up the pressure in vain.

"It is the height of folly for the US to think that it can solve any issue by means of sanctions and pressure," the spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

It said the US Treasury Department was tracing North Korea-opened bank accounts in "at least 10 countries" in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian states as well as Mongolia and Russia.

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