N Korea expels nuclear inspectors

Pyongyang halts all co-operation with UN nuclear monitors after rocket launch row.

    North Korea said it 'sternly rejects' the UN Security Council's condemnation of the rocket launch [EPA]

    North Korea said it would no longer attend what it called the "useless" six-party disarmament talks and said it would restart its plant that makes weapons-grade plutonium.

    "There is no need for the six-party [nuclear disarmament] talks any more," it said. "We will never again take part in such talks and will not be bound by any agreement reached at the talks."

    Pak Tok Hun, the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, also accused the UN of a double standard in its treatment of Pyongyang.

    "Since there are lot of few countries launched their satellite in the last few years including the United States and Japan - which launched satellites more than 100 times - but this was not dealt with by the Security Council," he told Al Jazeera.

    "Why does the Security Council deal with the issue in the case of my country?  This is selectivity, double standards, it's not fair, we cannot accept that, we made it clear."

    Pak warned that the Pyongyang would respond by taking the "appropriate strong measures".

    'Provocative threats'

    Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, criticised the expulsions and urged Pyongyang to return to the talks.

    In depth

     North Korea: A state of war
     Outcry over N Korea rocket
     Where are North Korea's bombs?
     Photo: N Korea's launch site
     Video: N Korea's arsenal

    "We are viewing this as an unnecessary response to the legitimate statement put out of concern by the Security Council," she said.   
    "Obviously we hope that there will be an opportunity to discuss this not only with our partners and allies but also eventually with the North Koreans."

    Earlier, the White House called for Pyongyang to "cease its provocative threats".

    Robert Gibbs, a White House spokesman, said the decision to pull out of the talks was a "serious step in the wrong direction" and that North Korea should respect the will of the international community by honouring its international commitments.

    The UN Security Council statement on Monday condemned the North's April 5 rocket launch, saying it violated a resolution banning Pyongyang from conducting missile-related activities.

    Pyongyang insists the launch placed a satellite into orbit, and has defended what it says is its sovereign right to a space programme.

    But the US military says no satellite has been detected after the rocket's upper stage and its payload crashed into the Pacific. It says the launch was a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.

    Korea 'encircled'

    Katharine Moon, an expert on US-Korean relations, told Al Jazeera that Pyongyang is looking for someone to blame following the "failure" of its rocket launch.

    "The North Korean rocket firing basically failed, so I look at this situation as one where the North Koreans are trying to blame the other side, covering up for a massive failure that they had publicised to the national community," she said.

    "The question is whether they will carry it [the expulsion] through.

    "The North Koreans are probably feeling somehow encircled. With this UN security council statement it's clear that five parties, as well as many involved actors in the international community, are lining up against the North Korean action," Moon said.

    John Swenson-Wright, a Korea expert at Seoul National University in South Korea, told Al Jazeera that North Korea's announcement it was quitting the nuclear talks and would "never again" return to them was an uncompromising statement.

    "By taking this uncompromising stand, North Korea is pursuing a very risky line", he said, noting that ruling out a return to the talks could alienate China - North Korea's closest ally - which has previously urged a softer line with the North.

    In its initial response to the North's announcement, China's foreign ministry called for calm from all sides.

    "We hope all sides will pay attention to the broader picture, exercise calm and restraint and protect progress in the six-party talks," spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

    The North began disabling its Soviet-era Yongbyon nuclear plant, which produced weapons-grade plutonium, more than a year ago as part of a February 2007 aid-for-disarmament deal reached with the US, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

    Military-first policy

    The talks, hosted by China, bring together envoys from the US, China, Russia, Japan as well as North and South Korea.

    North Korea said early on Tuesday that "even though the six-party talks were blown up by hostile forces and the denuclearisation process torn apart" it will ensure peace and security on the Korean peninsula with its military-first policy.

    "The UN Security Council simply yielded to the US robber-like logic"

    Statement by North Korea's Foreign Ministry

    It said it would actively consider building its own light-water nuclear reactors to supply electrical power and criticised what it called double standards by the UN.

    "According to the US logic, Japan may launch a satellite because Japan is its ally but we must not do the same because we have a different system and we are not subservient to the US," the ministry's statement said.

    "The UN Security Council simply yielded to the US robber-like logic."

    Responding to North Korea's protest move, neighbouring Japan has called on North Korea to reconsider its actions.

    Russia also said it "regrets North Korea's decision" and called on Pyongyang not to quit the talks.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.