N Korea Slams US, Japan, S Korea as Greatest Threats
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N Korea Slams US, Japan, S Korea as Greatest Threats


By Jim Gomez/AP Writer/Manila, Philippines Thursday, May 24, 2007


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Reclusive North Korea accused the US, Japan and South Korea of being Asia's biggest security threats and pledged to give up its nuclear weapons if they dismantle missiles aimed at it, in a document submitted to a regional security forum.

North Korea painted a bleak picture of Asia's security in the defense paper it presented for the first time to the Asean Regional Forum, but welcomed six-way talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula as a crucial first step toward peace.

"The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is in essence not the question of unilateral disbandment of the (North Korean) nuclear program o­nly," said the report, seen Thursday by The Associated Press.

In said the denuclearization also depended o­n the removal "of more than o­ne thousand nuclear weapons deployed in and around North Korea under the US nuclear umbrella and termination of the US hostile policy toward (North Korea) and its nuclear threat as well."

North Korea said it was forced to develop nuclear weapons and tested o­ne last year because of Washington's threat of a pre-emptive nuclear strikeā€”a plan it said was backed by Japan and South Korea.

"The DPRK had no other option but to possess nukes," the report said, using the abbreviation of the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The DPRK will automatically not be in need of even a single nuclear weapon when the time comes when the normalization of DPRK-US relations and confidence building is made," it said.

North Korea said it was important to enforce a February agreement to shut down its nuclear reactor "in good faith and refrain from acts of hindering the implementation," but did not state why it failed to meet a deadline about a month ago.

It has publicly said it will not shut down the Yongbyon reactor until it gets US $25 million in funds from a bank in the Chinese territory of Macau that had been frozen after the US blacklisted the bank in 2005.

While accusing the US, Japan and South Korea of forging "an alliance of war" and positioning an arsenal of weapons around North Korea for a future strike, the North reserved its most stinging criticisms for the first two.

It said Washington's unilateral policy of invading countries such as Iraq and its continuing efforts to bolster its military machinery beyond the Cold War era threatens world peace.

In Asia, it said the US policy of maintaining a nuclear security umbrella for Japan and South Korea has become "the greatest source of threat to peace and security" and could spark a nuclear arms race.

It said Japan has repeatedly raised the issue of North Korea's past abduction of Japanese citizens to distract attention from its own past war crimes and its current pursuit of hegemonic dreams in Asia.

If Japan continues to raise the "absurd" issue, it should quit the six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, it said.

North Korea has been a member of the Asean Regional Forum since 2000, but has not previously submitted any security assessments, which members voluntarily present to the forum each year.

Some ARF officials welcomed the gesture, saying it indicated North Korea's willingness to participate in policy debates.

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