- SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea
warned the United States on Tuesday it would build up its military to
what it said was U.S. "strong-arm policy'' against the communist
- ``The U.S. escalated policy intended to stifle the DPRK
compels the DPRK to increase its military capabilities for self-defense
to cope with it,'' the ruling party daily Rodong Sinmun said in a
- ``The Bush government is still pursuing the hardline
policy to contain the DPRK though it calls for the 'resumption of dialogue
without any precondition','' said the commentary, carried on North's Korea
Central News Agency (KCNA).
- DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name --
the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
- The statement said the United States was using its
campaign as an excuse to boost its forces in South Korea, creating a ``war
- U.S. officials have said that troops and weapons shifted
from South Korea to Afghanistan have been replenished. Many of the curfews
imposed on the 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea after the September 11
aerial attacks have been eased.
- The latest verbal attack on the Bush administration
North Korea's angry rejection last week of U.S. calls for inspections to
hunt for suspected weapons of mass destruction, including biological and
- North Korea frequently uses bluster, threats and bluffs
as a diplomatic tool to extract concessions from South Korea or get the
attention of the South's ally, the United States, analysts say.
- MIXED SIGNALS FROM NORTH
- Experts said it was unlikely impoverished North Korea,
which spends a quarter of its gross domestic product on its huge
military, would further boost military readiness.
- South Korean President Kim Dae-jung told British business
leaders in London on Monday that ``the security risk that has long been
an obstacle to inducing foreign capital has diminished to a minimum'' as
a result of his policies of engaging North Korea.
- North-South ties are at a standstill, despite an
series of exchanges in 2000 which raised hopes of reconciliation. The two
Koreas remain technically at war because they failed to sign a peace treaty
at the end of the 1950-53 Korean conflict.
- Despite its penchant for hostile rhetoric against the
United States, South Korea and Japan, North Korea has also sent some
signals to those countries in recent days.
- On Monday, the North Korean Foreign Ministry thanked
the international community for food aid that has helped it cope with grave
food shortages since 1995.
- Earlier that day, North Korea signed agreements with
the Korean peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), on the quality
guarantees of two nuclear reactors which Western countries agreed to build
for the communist North.
- KEDO is a consortium set up to implement the $4.6 billion
reactor project under the 1994 Agreed Framework deal, which froze the
suspected nuclear weapons program and obliges North Korea to open its
facilities to international inspection.
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