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:
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
TRACING TROUBLE: An infected man who had said that all his children were abroad was found to have a daughter in Kaohsiung who tested positive, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection. Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei. The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said. Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have
GRID PROBLEM: A Taipower spokesman said that the blackouts were not due to usage exceeding supply, nor were they because of a problem at the Singda plant There were rolling blackouts across Taiwan yesterday due to a grid malfunction at the Singda Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung’s Yongan District (永安), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said that it was working “as hard as possible to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” At 2:37pm, a malfunction at an ultra-high-voltage substation in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) triggered four generators at the Singda plant to go offline, cutting power output by 2.2 million kilowatts and prompting Taipower to initiate rolling blackouts nationwide as it worked on the problem. Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) told a news conference in Taipei that