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N. Korea to 'reconsider' participating in talks with U.S.

BEIJING, Dec. 13 Kyodo

North Korea said Monday it is reconsidering its participation in talks with the United States as the latter's ''frantic smear campaign' against the North aimed at bringing about regime change has ''gone beyond the tolerance limit.''

''The hatred of the army and people of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) toward the U.S. is rapidly mounting due to its escalation of the smear campaign to bring down the political system in the DPRK'' a Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Accusing the United States of only paying lip service to dialogue while ''stooping to any despicable method to destroy its dialogue partner,'' the spokesman said, ''Under this situation the DPRK is compelled to seriously reconsider its participation in the talks with the U.S., a party extremely disgusting and hateful.''

The spokesman dismissed as a ''sheer lie'' reports in U.S. media that portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il are no longer displayed in the country.

He said that as part of the anti-Pyongyang smear campaign, U.S. media have also reported ''sheer misinformation'' that at least 130 army general officers and high-ranking officials have deserted their units in the wake of defections of ordinary people.

''The U.S. false propaganda and psychological operation aimed to slander the DPRK and finally realize a regime change there have, in actuality, gone beyond the tolerance limit,'' the spokesman said.

On the reported defections, the spokesman said that contrary to what the U.S. media reports have said, ''not even a button of a general officer's uniform, to say nothing of more than a hundred of general officers, has ever been found across the border. We do not know such a word as 'defection.'''

The spokesman acknowledged, however, that ''there may be some illegal border trespassers who crossed the border in violation of the law now in force in the DPRK, unable to live in their native land any longer because of their illicit acts and crimes.''

''The system in the DPRK is politically stable and is as firm as a rock,'' he said.

He said North Korea is now on a heightened state of vigilance as ''the U.S. frantic smear campaign against the DPRK reminds us of an eve of its aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq.''

Last Friday, U.S. officials said in Washington they see no signs that North Korea will agree anytime soon to resume the stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear program although the United States and four other parties are calling for the talks to be held as soon as possible.

The talks have been stalled since the third round in June despite an agreement then to hold the fourth by the end of September.

The six nations -- China, Japan, South and North Korea, Russia and the United States -- launched the dialogue process in August 2003 to resolve the nuclear crisis that erupted in October 2002 when Washington alleged that Pyongyang had admitted to running a secret uranium enrichment program for nuclear weapons.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Dec 13, 2004
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