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N Korea hits out at US over nuclear row: Reports

Last Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 22:13

Tokyo: North Korea`s number-two leader
slammed the United States on Thursday for singling out his country`s
uranium enrichment programme in a drive against nuclear
proliferation, reports said.

"Not only our country but other countries in the world
are enriching uranium," Kim Yong-Nam, the president of the
Supreme People`s Assembly -- North Korea`s parliament -- told
Japanese media in Pyongyang, according to Kyodo news agency.

"But the problem is why the world pays attention only to
the uranium enrichment programme of our country," added Kim,
who is considered a nominal head of state in the communist
country ruled by paramount leader Kim Jong-Il.

Kim Yong-Nam said Washington was singling out the North
Korean programme in an effort to guide world opinion against
Pyongyang, according to Kyodo. The broadcaster NHK also
reported Kim`s comments.

He attributed such action to Washington`s "wily" desire
to disturb Pyongyang`s exchanges and cooperation with other

North Korea has insisted that its uranium enrichment
programme, which was disclosed last November, is a peaceful
energy project. But experts say it could easily be
reconfigured to produce weapons-grade uranium to augment the
country`s plutonium stockpile.

Six-nation talks on the North`s nuclear disarmament --
involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, China and
Russia -- have been at a standstill since December 2008.

The communist North has repeatedly expressed a desire to
go back to talks, but Washington has urged it to show more
sincerity and mend ties with Seoul first.

On North Korea`s stalled ties with neighbouring Japan,
Kim said Pyongyang was closely watching Yoshihiko Noda, who
was elected Japan`s new prime minister on Tuesday.

"We don`t yet know whether (Noda) will move toward a
positive direction to improve (North) Korea-Japan relations or
follow the same path of previous governments" in doing little
to improve ties, he said.


First Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 22:13

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