N.Korea presents nuclear report
Kim Jong Il, DPRK
Originally uploaded by panafnewswire
Kim Jong Il, DPRK
Originally uploaded by panafnewswire
Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:13pm EDT
By Matt Spetalnick and Jeremy Pelofsky
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea handed over a long-delayed account of its nuclear activities on Thursday, prompting a still-wary U.S. President George W. Bush to ease some sanctions on a country he once deemed part of an "axis of evil."
Bush cautiously welcomed the action but warned North Korea, which tested a nuclear device two years ago, that it faced "consequences" if it did not fully disclose its operations and continue to dismantle its nuclear programs and facilities.
"If North Korea makes the wrong choices, the United States and our partners in the six-party talks will respond accordingly," he said in Washington shortly after the declaration was handed over to China.
Responding to an unusual opening by the secretive communist state, Bush took a step toward removing North Korea from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism and issued a proclamation lifting some sanctions under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
Seeking to deflect criticism from hardline critics who accuse him of going soft, Bush made clear he would put the onus on Pyongyang to keep its denuclearization promises.
With the unpopular Iraq war and Iranian nuclear standoff unresolved in the twilight of Bush's presidency, his administration is hoping progress on North Korea can help salvage his foreign policy legacy.
But U.S. officials acknowledged that the North Korean declaration, which came six months late, falls short of answering all concerns about Pyongyang's atomic ambitions, especially on past nuclear proliferation activities.
Stephen Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, said the statement reveals the amount of plutonium North Korea has produced but does not detail its nuclear weapons stockpile.
But he said U.S. experts could "do the math" and that issue would be discussed in a further phase of the six-party talks involving Pyongyang's neighbors that yielded this deal.
Bush also welcomed an announcement by North Korea that it would blow up the cooling tower at Yongbyon, its main nuclear complex. In an unprecedented move, North Korea has invited Western media to record the event.
NOT THE END
North Korea had already begun dismantling its nuclear facilities after talks among China, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea and the United States.
"This isn't the end of the process, this is the beginning of the process," Bush said, and added Pyongyang's current actions would not in themselves end North Korea's international isolation.
He said among other steps North Korea needed to take was a resolution of its differences over abducted Japanese citizens.
Bush bracketed North Korea, Iraq and Iran in an "axis of evil" after the September 11 attacks in 2001, accusing them of sponsoring terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction.
Removal from the U.S. terrorism blacklist could ease some trade restrictions and eventually let Pyongyang work with the World Bank and other international institutions.
Bush and other officials stressed the symbolic nature of the U.S. concessions. He has come under pressure from many conservatives not to be seen as compromising on North Korea five months before a U.S. presidential election in which national security issues will play a big part.
John Bolton, former U.S. envoy to the United Nations under the Bush administration and now a harsh critic, said, "This is a big shame. This is an agreement that almost entirely benefits North Korea. They've gained enormous international political legitimacy ... while giving up essentially nothing in return."
Hadley said easing sanctions was "relatively minor" and if Pyongyang failed to fulfill its obligations the United States could seek to reimpose them or push for new ones.
U.S. financial sanctions aimed at thwarting North Korean money laundering, illicit financing activities and weapons proliferation will stay in effect, a Treasury spokesman said.
Experts said the declaration was a step forward, but deepened uncertainties about who will make further concessions, and how much other countries are willing to trust Pyongyang.
"Since this particular declaration has not included nuclear weapons or the exact number of warheads they have, that is a key concern," said Lee Chung-min, a professor at Yonsei University in Seoul.
Despite that, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said North Korea's declaration followed by "reciprocal actions" by the United States "are important steps forward."
China, the closest Pyongyang has to an ally, hosted talks that last year secured a deal offering North Korea energy, aid and diplomatic concessions in return for disabling its main nuclear facility and unveiling past nuclear activities.
The latest phase of the nuclear disarmament deal had been due for completion by the end of 2007 but was delayed by wrangling over money, aid and the contents of the declaration. A new round of six-party talks is expected soon.
(Additional reporting by David Morgan and Paul Eckert in Washington, Chris Buckley in Beijing, Susan Cornwell in Kyoto, and Jack Kim in Seoul; Writing by Matt Spetalnick and Jeremy Laurence; Editing by David Storey and Patricia Zengerle)
The Following Reports Are Reprinted From the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)
Anniversary of Kim Jong Il's Start of Work at C.C., WPK Marked
Pyongyang, June 25 (KCNA) -- Organizations of Brazil and Germany released bulletins on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of General Secretary Kim Jong Il's start of work at the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.
The Brazil-Korea Friendship Association in its bulletin on June 16 noted that Kim Jong Il who started his work at the C.C., WPK 40 odd years ago fully systematized the revolutionary idea of President Kim Il Sung on the basis of deep study and analysis of the preceding theory of the working class, thus providing guidelines guaranteeing the triumphant advance of the human cause of independence.
Saying that the Songun politics enforced by the DPRK is a typical example proving Kim Jong Il's distinguished political caliber, the bulletin stressed that the DPRK has greeted the dawn of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation today by making dynamic progress in the efforts to attain the above-said new high eminence thanks to his Songun politics, overcoming difficulties.
It noted that the DPRK formed a harmonious large family thanks to his benevolent politics.
The German Group for Study of Songun Politics carried articles titled "Invincible Workers' Party of Korea and Kim Jong Il", "Kimjongilia" and "Songun politics, a model of independent politics" and other articles in bulletin No. 3 in which it highly lauded the undying feats performed by Kim Jong Il before the party and the revolution, the country and the people and the human cause of independence.
Lasting Peace on the Korean Peninsula Called for
Pyongyang, June 25 (KCNA) -- Leading papers today in editorials carried 58 years after the U.S. imperialists provoked the Korean war of aggression call for meeting the challenges of the war forces at home and abroad and ensuring lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Rodong Sinmun says that the Korean War ignited by the U.S. imperialists on June 25, 1950 was a brazen-faced and brigandish war of aggression to put Korea under their colonial rule and, furthermore, conquer Asia and the rest of the world and the most barbarous war of genocide in the history of wars.
The U.S. has ceaselessly stepped up the arms build-up and joint military exercises targeted against the DPRK in wanton violation of the Korean Armistice Agreement since the outset of the new century, far from drawing a bitter lesson from its defeat in the Korean War and making a switchover in its policy of aggression toward the DPRK. It is instigating the puppet warmaniacs to confrontation and war against fellow countrymen.
Since its seizure of power in south Korea the Lee Myung Bak group has boosted its cooperation with outside forces in the war moves, swimming against the trend of the times towards detente and peace. The bellicose moves escalated by the Lee Myung Bak regime in collusion with outside forces are throwing a stumbling block in the way of achieving peace and the reunification of the country and increasing the danger of the second Korean War.
The situation prevailing on the Korean Peninsula at present requires all Koreans in the north and the south and overseas to unite close and wage a vigorous nationwide struggle to defend peace, the daily says, calling on all Koreans to hold aloft the banner of Songun and protect the dignity and sovereignty of the country and the nation and accomplish the historic cause of national reunification.
The daily underscored the need for all Koreans to stand on the same front of the struggle for peace against war and smash every move of the U.S. for a war of aggression against the DPRK, a grave threat to the peace on the Korean Peninsula, and the every reckless move of the Lee Myung Bak group, its lackeys, to ignite a war of aggression against the north.
Minju Joson stresses that no force on earth can ever arrest the struggle of the Korean nation to defend peace and achieve independent reunification under the uplifted banner of Songun.
Preservation of Peace on Korean Peninsula Called for
Pyongyang, June 25 (KCNA) -- If a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula again, it will certainly develop into a nuclear war to threaten the very existence of the nation. It is, therefore, the most urgent task to be fulfilled by the whole nation for protecting its existence and security and achieving the reunification of the country to defend peace from a war. Rodong Sinmun today observes this in a signed article.
It goes on:
The entire nation should frustrate the moves of the bellicose forces at home and abroad to provoke a war of aggression against the north and intensify the struggle for peace against war in order to ensure peace on the peninsula.
The struggle for peace against war means a just and patriotic struggle to defend the cradle for the nation and a sacred struggle to pave the way for national reunification and the independent development of the nation.
All Koreans should stand up against the U.S. criminal war maneuvers and arms build-up threatening the existence and future of the nation and disturbing peace and blocking the reunification of the country and its moves to escalate the military pressure upon the DPRK and resolutely frustrate them.
The south Korean people should wage a vigorous struggle for independence against the U.S. and for the withdrawal of the U.S. forces and thus force the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces, the root cause of national misfortune and pain, to quit south Korea as early as possible.
They should, at the same time, intensify the struggle to check and foil the moves stepped up by the Lee Myung Bak group to boost the cooperation with foreign forces in war maneuvers and its reckless actions for a war of aggression against the north, hell-bent on sycophancy towards the U.S. and confrontation with fellow countrymen. All Koreans in the north and the south should turn out in the nation-wide patriotic struggle to remove the danger of war and defend peace.
The idea of "By our nation itself" serves as a powerful weapon in the struggle for peace against war.
All Koreans at home and abroad should firmly unite as one in the above-said idea and thoroughly smash the criminal moves of the U.S. and the Lee group, its lackeys, to provoke a new war by the concerted efforts of the nation.
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