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NKorea steps up verbal attack on US ahead of summit

AFP | September 14 2006

North Korea stepped up a verbal attack on the United States Thursday ahead of a summit between the US and South Korean presidents in Washington, accusing it of gearing up for war.

The communist country accused the United States of using Japan as a "shock brigade" for waging a second war on the Korean peninsula.

"The US is rushing headlong into a war, pursuant to its reckless hostile policy toward the DPRK (North Korea)," the North's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary.

"This is an unpardonable crime as it is aimed at starting a dangerous war to put the whole of Asia under its control."

The accusations came hours before US President George W. Bush was due to meet South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun for talks focusing on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

South Korea has been pressing the United States to show greater flexibility in efforts to restart stalled six-party nuclear disarmament talks, which also include Russia, China and Japan.

Seoul has cautioned against imposing sanctions on North Korea, which test-fired missiles in July -- sparking condemnation and missile-related sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.

"What could North Korea really do with its nuclear weapons or missiles? Compared with what the United States has, these would be like mere children's toys," former South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung said.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner slammed "US neo-cons" for stirring up a crisis to pursue their own political agenda.

"In their heart, US neo-cons are not really concerned about North Korea's nuclear programme but they are taking advantage of the issue," he said in an interview with the Korean-language edition of French magazine Le Monde Diplomatique.

"For US neo-cons, they don't need any dialogue with North Korea," said Kim, who held a historic 2000 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.

Rodong Sinmun, quoted by the Korean Central News Agency, blasted Washington for seeking to use Japan "as a shock brigade for waging the second Korean war."

"In a word they are contemplating using Japan as their advance and logistic bases and a combined war-commanding post to carry out their scenario for invading the DPRK."

Last September, in what was seen as a breakthrough, the impoverished North agreed in principle to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid and security and diplomatic guarantees.

But it boycotted the next round of the six-party talks two months later to protest at US sanctions on a Macau-based bank accused of laundering and counterfeiting money for the North.

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