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In the News
Last Updated: 01/04/2008
North Korea misses deadline for declaring nuclear weapons programs, continues deterrence strategy
The Korean Times [online edition]

North Korea threatened Friday to bolster its "war deterrence" days after missing a year-end deadline for declaring all its nuclear weapons programs under an international deal.

The Rodong Shinmun, the organ of the North Korean Workers' Party, also accused the United States of using a "trick" to step up the development of new types of nuclear weapons.

"Our people have already been building up our defense capability, having an insight into the criminal nature of U.S. imperialists," the newspaper said in a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"Our Republic will further bolster our war deterrence to cope with increasing U.S. attempts to ignite a nuclear war," the newspaper stressed.

It said the U.S. announcement of its plan to reduce its own nuclear weapons facilities is "nothing but a trite trick to hoodwink world public opinion."

The move is merely intended to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons by scrapping older ones, the commentary said.

"Nothing has changed in the criminal intention of the U.S. nuclear war maniacs to bring the danger of a nuclear war to the world by stepping up the development and production of new types of nuclear weapons behind the screen of 'nuclear reduction.'"

Under an October deal with South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, North Korea was obligated to disable its key nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and disclose a full list of its nuclear programs by Dec. 31 in return for 1 million tons of fuel oil or its equivalent in aid.

The North, however, failed to meet the deadline, causing concern among its negotiating partners.

South Korea, the U.S. and Japan expressed disappointment, but said negotiations to disarm the communist state will continue.

The reason for the missed deadline has not been officially stated, but diplomatic sources in Seoul and Washington indicated that it was mainly because of differences over whether North Korea has another nuclear weapons program using enriched uranium.

North Korea detonated a plutonium-based nuclear device in October last year, but it has strenuously denied U.S. allegations that it had and may still have a separate weapons program using enriched uranium.

The Minju Joson, the organ of the North Korean Cabinet, said on Friday that the country missed the deadline because the U.S. and other negotiating partners delayed implementing their own obligations under the international agreement.

"We had no choice but to control the speed of our measures to disable nuclear facilities in retaliation for a delay caused by the U.S. and other nations concerned with the six-party talks in fulfilling their duties," the newspaper claimed.

The newspaper, however, did not mention the nuclear declaration.