- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2005

SEOUL (AP) — North Korea called Vice President Dick Cheney a “bloodthirsty beast” and said yesterday that his recent remarks labeling ruler Kim Jong-il irresponsible are another reason for the nation to stay away from six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.

“What Cheney uttered at a time when the issue of the six-party talks is high on the agenda is little short of telling [North Korea] not to come out for the talks,” an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Nearly a year since the last session of the six-nation talks, North Korea has refused to return to the table, citing a “hostile” U.S. policy.

More recently, it has also called for an apology for being labeled one of the world’s “outposts of tyranny” by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In a Sunday interview on CNN, Mr. Cheney called the North Korean leader “one of the world’s most irresponsible leaders,” who runs a police state and leaves his people in poverty and malnutrition.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan described the communist country’s comments as “more of the same kind of bluster we hear from North Korea from time to time. When they make provocative statements, they only further isolate themselves.”

President Bush has sounded a more conciliatory tone recently, referring to Mr. Kim this week at a press conference with the title “Mr.”

Miss Rice also has said the U.S. recognizes the North as a sovereign nation, and U.S. officials insist that they have no intention to attack the communist state.

But North Korea said yesterday that the remarks by Mr. Cheney, “boss of the hawkish hard-liners, revealed the true colors of this group steering the implementation of the policy of the Bush administration.”

The North also leveled a bitter personal attack on Mr. Cheney, saying he was “hated as the most cruel monster and bloodthirsty beast as he has drenched various parts of the world in blood.”

The North also yesterday criticized a Defense Department decision to halt missions to recover the remains of thousands of U.S. soldiers from the Korean War and said it would disband its search unit.

“In consequence, the U.S. remains buried in Korea can never be recovered but are bound to be reduced to earth with the flow of time,” a North Korean army spokesman said, according to KCNA.

Washington said it was halting the missions, which began in 1996, out of concerns for U.S. troops’ safety.

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