- SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea,
in its latest rhetorical roasting for the U.S. president, described George
W. Bush on Saturday as a "typical rogue and a kingpin of terrorism"
who visited South Korea this week just to review plans for war.
- During his 40-hour visit to the South, Bush renewed an
unconditional U.S. offer for talks with Pyongyang, but also criticised
a lack of food and freedom in the North, saying the burden of proof was
on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to change.
- North Korea responded to Bush's remarks by issuing a
toughly worded Foreign Ministry statement on Friday rejecting his call
for talks and dismissing him as a "politically backward child"
bent on using arms and money to change the North's communist political
- On Saturday, the official KCNA news agency followed up
with a commentary that regurgitated parts of the ministry's statement but
also concocted some fresh phrases to attack Bush in what was almost certainly
the start of a long rhetorical campaign.
- It said his visit was aimed at drumming up anti-reunification
forces and noted he had toured the southern side of the heavily fortified
Demilitarised Zone that bisects the Korean peninsula.
- "It was, in a word, a war junket to finally examine
the preparations for a war on the spot," KCNA said.
- "He asserted that the U.S. nuclear and missile forces
strong enough to destroy the world scores of times are 'deterrent forces'
and the DPKR's forces for self-defence to defend its national dignity and
sovereignty from the potential threat of aggression from the U.S. pose
a 'threat' and can be used for 'terrorism'," it said.
- SOUTH VOWS TO KEEP TRYING WITH NORTH
- "This is a gangster-like logic of a typical rogue
and a kingpin of terrorism."
- DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's official name, the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
- Bush has described North Korea as being part of an "axis
of evil" for developing and seeking to proliferate weapons of mass
- Apart from the lexical quirks, North Korea's comments
so far have been noteworthy for not criticising South Korea and its president,
Kim Dae-jung even though he voiced concern, after talks with Bush, about
the North's weapons programmes.
- Kim said earlier on Saturday his government would not
give up its "Sunshine Policy" of engaging the North despite Pyongyang's
rejection of the latest U.S. call for dialogue.
- "Based on what the (Seoul) government has achieved
in the past four years, we will continue to push ahead with the engagement
policy toward North Korea," the presidential office quoted Kim as
telling visiting foreign scholars.
- Political analysts say it is possible North Korea will
resume stalled talks with the South even if it rules out, for now, speaking
to the United States.
- But they say little progress is expected because the
South's Kim is in his final year in office and there are other distractions
such as the soccer World Cup finals, being co-hosted by South Korea and
Japan, and a major festival in the North.
- Pyongyang's brinkmanship and bluster on the road to deals
have been well mapped by foreign experts over the years.
- On Saturday, KCNA said Bush's "loud-mouthed"
offer of dialogue was not worthy of note because he sought to change how
North Korea was run.
- "It is useless for the DPRK to sit with those who
do not recognise its political system," it said. "Bush and his
group are well advised to stop acting recklessly."
- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, aboard Air Force
One returning from Bush's six-day Asian trip, said on Friday the United
States would use diplomatic channels to seek dialogue with the North despite
its angry rejection of the offer.
- The Koreas remain technically at war because the Korean
War ended without a peace treaty. The United States keeps 37,000 troops
in South Korea to deter the North, which has more than a million people
in its armed forces, from repeating its 1950 invasion of the South.
- (Additional reporting by Nam In-soo)
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