N. Korea rejects U.N. action

North Koreans gather Monday for a rally at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, 
to condemn the U.N. rebuke of the country’s latest nuclear test.

AP/Korean Central News Agency

North Koreans gather Monday for a rally at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, to condemn the U.N. rebuke of the country’s latest nuclear test.

SEOUL, South Korea — Tens of thousands of North Koreans rallied in Pyongyang on Monday to condemn the U.N. rebuke of the country's latest nuclear test amid concern the communist regime could conduct another one.

The United States and South Korea are scrutinizing 11 underground sites across North Korea where it could conduct a third nuclear test, based on intelligence it may do so in protest of the U.N. Security Council sanctions, Seoul's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported Monday.

Tension on the Korean peninsula spiked after the North declared Saturday it would accelerate its nuclear bomb-making program.

The North also threatened war with any country that tries to stop its ships on the high seas as part of new Security Council sanctions passed in response to Pyongyang's May 25 nuclear test.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak departed for summit talks with President Barack Obama in Washington today. The talks are expected to be dominated by the North's nuclear and missile programs.

In Pyongyang, a crowd of about 100,000 North Koreans packed the capital's main square in a rally to condemn the U.N. resolution. The regime often organizes such rallies at times of tension with the outside world.

"We strongly condemn and wholly reject the U.N. Security Council's resolution on sanctions, fabricated at the instigation of U.S. imperialism hell-bent on its attempt at stifling" the North, Kim Ki Nam, a top Workers' Party official, told the crowd.

Participants clapped and chanted "Condemn! Reject!" in unison.

fast facts

IAEA chief critical of N. Korea, Iran

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, on Monday told North Korea to end its course of nuclear confrontation and urged Iran to agree to Washington's offer of direct dialogue.

Speaking at the opening session of the U.N. agency's 35-nation board meeting in Vienna, ElBaradei described North Korea's second nuclear test as "a wrong step in the wrong direction."

Noting newfound American willingness to talk directly to the Islamic Republic, ElBaradei urged Tehran to "respond to the U.S. initiative with an equal gesture of goodwill and trust-building."

Associated Press

N. Korea rejects U.N. action 06/15/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 15, 2009 11:06pm]

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