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2009/07/23 11:09 KST

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

N. Korea's No. 2 Man Claims 'Permanent End' to Six-party Talks

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam affirmed that his country has no intention of returning to the six-party talks on scrapping the North's nuclear program as the U.S. and other nations seek to implement U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang's second nuclear test, state media said on July 18.

   "For us there can be no dialogue, nor any negotiations where the principles of respect for sovereign rights and equality are denied," Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the North's Supreme People's Assembly, was quoted by Rodong Sinmun as saying at the Non-Aligned Movement summit of 118 nations in Egypt three days earlier.

   "The (six-nation) talks came to a permanent end because the U.S. and the majority of the obedient parties to the talks abandoned this principle," he added.
North Korea quit the six-party disarmament talks also involving the U.S., South Korea, China, Japan and Russia after it test-fired a long-range missile in April. The following month, it conducted a second nuclear test, prompting the U.N. Security Council to impose a new set of sanctions.

   During his speech, Kim also defended his country's test of a long-range rocket and nuclear weapons as self-defensive measures.

   "The DPRK (North Korea), too, is opposed to a nuclear war, nuclear arms race and nuclear proliferation like all other non-aligned countries," Kim was quoted by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying. "The DPRK is the only country in the world which was so antagonized by the U.S. and exposed to such a nuclear threat by it that it was compelled to have access to nuclear deterrence for self-defense."

   North Korea's nuclear weapon is "not for invading or threatening others but is a war deterrent for defending the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

   In an apparent reference to sanctions imposed after what it claims to have been a communications satellite launch, Kim asserted that "not only the peace and security of the country but also the dignity of the nation and sovereignty of the DPRK have been grossly violated by the high-handed acts of the U.S."

   "If such acts of the U.S. are allowed to go on, the DPRK would be totally deprived of the legitimate right to use space," he stressed.

   Kim returned home on July 20 after attending the NAM summit in Eqypt, according to the KCNA.


North Korea Blasts Seoul's Plan to Set up Peacekeeping Force

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on July 18 accused South Korea of seeking to reinforce its war capability and "provoke a second Korean War" after the government announced plans to set up a special military unit for overseas peacekeeping missions.

   Last month, the South Korean Defense Ministry announced a plan to launch a 3,000-strong military unit that can readily be deployed to assist peacekeeping operations around the world. The plan comes as South Korea increases its role in multinational and U.N. security operations, the ministry said.

   The North Korean weekly Tongil Sinbo, a government mouthpiece, criticized the plan as a scheme to prepare for a second Korean War.

   Seoul aims to build up military experience and reinforce its wartime operational command ability through its participation in the U.N. peacekeeping operations, the weekly said.

   It claimed South Korea has accumulated a store of experience on how to maintain public peace and manage the people in case of emergency on the peninsula through its troop dispatches to East Timor and various other countries involved in regional dispute.

   Thousands of South Korean troops were also sent to Iraq, but only to take charge of large-scale long-range nighttime transportation operations, which has nothing to do with post-war rehabilitation but was part of preparations for a second war on the Korean Peninsula, the North asserted.

   The South's plan, essentially, is a closely calculated "treachery scheme" to win Washington's approval by meeting its needs and completing its war preparations at the same time, the weekly said.


N.K. Weekly Says Future of Kaesong Depends on S. Korea's Attitude

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea said on July 18 that the future of the troubled joint industrial complex depends on Seoul's attitude, again calling for a "more sincere" approach.

   Tongil Sinbo, a North Korean weekly that is considered a mouthpiece of the government, said the bilateral talks over the factory complex are on the brink of breakdown because of South Korea's "insincere and confrontational" attitude.

   "The future of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and talks on the complex totally depends on the future attitude of the South Korean authorities," the North said.

   North Korean can no longer give special treatment for "those who pursue confrontation with their compatriots," it added.

   Earlier on July 10, the North warned it will take "firm action" on the factory zone unless Seoul takes a more sincere approach to the talks.

   "If the South does not show sincerity in future negotiations, (the North) will take steps that have already been stated," the North's Korean Central news Agency (KCNA) said quoting a statement released by an organization handling the Kaesong complex.

   The latest inter-Korean talks over Kaesong ended on July 2 with no agreement, and no date was set for another round of meetings.

   North Korea insisted that monthly wages for local employees be raised four-fold to US$300. It also sought $500 million for a 50-year lease on the park, ditching the $16 million rent deal signed when the park opened in 2004.

   Seoul rejected the demands while pressing for the release of a South Korean worker detained since March on accusations that he criticized the North's political system and tried to entice a North Korean female to defect.

   The joint park just north of the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas hosts more than 100 South Korean firms making clothing, kitchenware, electronic equipment and other labor-intensive goods. There are about 40,000 North Korean workers at the complex.