- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2001

SEOUL (AP) — North Korea criticized the United States yesterday for a missile-defense test and threatened to scrap all agreements with Washington.
The secretive communist state did not specify which agreements, but it has promised the United States not to test-fire its long-range missiles as long as the two sides continue talks on improving relations.
North Korea "is compelled to take a counteraction for self-defense by the U.S. deliberate provocation made to it in a bid to attain its sinister aim," a North Korean Foreign Ministry official told the North's official KCNA news agency, monitored in Seoul.
"North Korea will have nothing to lose even if all the points agreed upon between North Korea and the U.S. are scrapped," said the official, who was not identified by name.
Last week, the United States successfully used a rocket-powered interceptor to destroy a dummy warhead over the Pacific. The Bush administration wants to eventually deploy a missile-defense system capable of protecting the United States and its allies from missile attacks by countries like North Korea and Iraq.
North Korea, along with Russia and China, vehemently opposes the U.S. project, which it says is aimed at dominating the world militarily.
North Korea rattled nerves in Asia and Washington in 1998 by firing a three-stage rocket that flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific.
It is widely suspected of developing long-range missiles that could reach Hawaii, Alaska and eventually the continental United States.
After months of negotiations, North Korea agreed in 1999 to forgo missile tests for the duration of talks with Washington on improving ties.
There have been no high-level contacts between North Korea and the United States since October, when then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright visited Pyongyang and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Mr. Bush offered last month to resume talks to discuss security concerns, but North Korea has made little more than a tepid response.
The United States keeps 37,000 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against a possible North Korean invasion.

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