- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 13 (UPI) — North Korea clashed with the United States Thursday over the escalating nuclear standoff and said it plans to ignore any moves by the U.N. Security Council in the crisis.

"My government does not care what discussion is going to be in the U.N. Security Council," North Korean delegate So Si Pong told a session here of the 66-member state, and U.N.-sponsored conference on disarmament.

North Korean said the nuclear issue is due to: "U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK," but also suggested "if the United States changes its attitude right now, the issue will be settle immediately."

Pyongyang wants the United States to conclude a "bilateral non-aggression pact on equal footing," he said.

However, Stephen Rademaker, U.S. assistant secretary of state for arms control, told reporters Washington did not accept this problem would be solved merely by signing a non-aggression pact.

The proper recourse, he said, was to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

Earlier, Rademaker told delegates the DPRK's efforts to develop nuclear weapons and to withdraw from a global nuclear arms pact poses "a serious challenge" to international security.

"A nuclear-armed DPRK threatens the stability of all of Northeast Asia. Given the DPRK's history of marketing the weapons it produces, it also threatens to spread nuclear weapons rapidly to dangerous regimes around the world," the U.S. official said.

The remarks by North Korea came less then a day after the governing board of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency declared Wednesday the communist nation has been in "chronic non-compliance" with the safeguards accord of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, NPT, and decided to send the issue to the U.N. Security Council.

Pyongyang abandoned the NPT on Jan. 10.

Moreover, North Korea argued Washington used the IAEA as a U.S. tool for the implementation of its hostile policy, and said after yesterday's vote it will "have nothing to do with it (IAEA)."

The intention of the United States was to stifle and bring about the collapse of the country, So said and voiced "the U.S. is the main troublemaker that opened the Pandora's box."

The United States was also trying to put "hurdles" in the good relations which are now developing on the Korean peninsula, the DPRK diplomat said.

On the Iraqi crisis, Rademaker said the Saddam regime has "attempted to pick and choose the terms of compliance and throw sand in the collective eyes of the United Nations."

"Our patience is limited," Radermaker said and argued it's time for the United Nations "to take a stand, to demonstrate its relevance" on collective security.

He underlined "having come so far the, the United States will not turn back. But we cannot wait much longer to conclude this matter, and when we conclude it, we expect to be in coalition with a large group of like-minded nations."

Finally, he said, Iraq's possible assumption to the conference presidency next month "is unacceptable to the United States," and added it threatens to discredit the institution.




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