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North Korea issues tirade against U.N.

TOKYO — Fuming at the U.N. Security Council for condemning its recent missile launch, North Korea said Tuesday that it will restart its plutonium factory, junk all its disarmament agreements and "never participate" again in six-country nuclear negotiations.

North Korea had warned before launching a long-range missile on April 5 that it would tolerate no U.N. criticism of what it insisted was a peaceful attempt to put a satellite into orbit.

When the 15-member Security Council unanimously condemned that launch Monday and demanded a halt to all future missile launches, North Korea's reaction was swift, vitriolic and surprisingly substantive.

It called the Security Council's statement a "brigandish," "wanton" and "unjust" infringement of its sovereignty. It said that six-party nuclear talks with the United States, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China had "turned into a platform" for forcing the North to disarm itself and for bringing down its system of government.

"We have no choice but to further strengthen our nuclear deterrent to cope with additional military threats by hostile forces," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

If it follows through on Tuesday's bluster, North Korea will walk away from six years of slow, fitful but sometimes productive negotiations that have led to substantial disablement of the North's main nuclear reactor and partial disclosure of the scale of its weapons program.

The talks, in turn, have rewarded the government of Kim Jong Il with food, fuel and removal from a U.S. list of countries that sponsor terror. The Obama administration has repeatedly said that it wants to resume the talks, which stalled last year in a dispute about how to verify the North's past nuclear activity.

North Korea often indulges in rhetorical overkill, threatening "all-out war" and "merciless" destruction of its enemies. Regional governments and Asian stock markets have grown accustomed to the rhetoric and often ignore it. That seemed to be the case Tuesday, as markets in Seoul and Tokyo appeared unaffected by Pyongyang's threats.

North Korea issues tirade against U.N. 04/14/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:18pm]
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