AFP. 30 January 2002. N Korea angrily refutes US "provocative" concerns
over nuclear arms.

SEOUL -- North Korea on Wednesday angrily refuted "provocative" US
concerns over its suspected nuclear weapons program, but made no
immediate reaction to President George W. Bush's threat of possible
action against the Stalinist state.

Bush's state of the union speech in which he put North Korea among a
small group of "the world's most dangerous regimes" is bound to rile
Pyongyang which has angrily condemned Bush and his policy over the past

A foreign ministry spokesman in Pyongyang denounced a recent US call for
the North to stop proliferating its nuclear weapons technology and to
accept international inspections into its nuclear facilities.

"This is nothing but a provocative remark," the spokesman told the
Korean Central News Agency, referring to the US demand made by US Under
Secretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton last week.

"It is again the US which is threatening the Korean people with nuclear
weapons," he fumed, referring to some 37,000 US troops in South Korea.

The North's ruling party's Rodong Sinmun called for the withdrawal of US
troops from South Korea in a renewed attack on Washington Wednesday.

A Rodong commentary said changes being made to US bases in the South
were "moves to perpetuate the US military presence in South Korea and
round off the preparations to provoke another Korean War."

It added that the "loudmouthed" US warnings over the North Korea threat
were simply to justify the presence of the American troops in South
Korea and "persistently pursue the policy of aggression" against the

"The US forces in South Korea are a US detached force of aggression, not
a 'war deterrent force'," said the newspaper.

Rodong added: "The US seeks to unleash a new war with South Korea as a
forward base and the US forces in South Korea as the main force, swallow
up the whole of Korea and, furthermore, put Asia under its military

It went on: "As long as the US forces remain in South Korea, it is
impossible to preserve peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and
clear it of the danger of war."

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Barry Stoller

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