North Korea lashes out at UN rebuke

Pyongyang expels inspectors, quits talks and declares it will restart nuclear activities.

    North Korea accused the UN of practising a double standard [EPA]

    "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," he said, warning that Pyongyang would respond by taking the "appropriate strong measures".

    Inspectors expelled

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    Marc Vidricaire, a spokesman for the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), confirmed that North Korea had halted all co-operation with its nuclear monitors and told them to leave the country as soon as possible.

    "The DPRK [North Korea] also informed the IAEA that it has decided to reactivate all facilities and go ahead with the reprocessing of spent fuel," he said.

    North Korea also said on Tuesday that it would no longer attend what it called the "useless" six-party talks.

    "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."

    'Provocative threats'

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

    "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."

    "This is selectivity, double standards, it's not fair"

    Pak Tok Hun,
    North Korea's ambassador to the UN

    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 says 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 ocean.

    It says the launch was a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.

    Pyongyang 'encircled'

    Katharine Moon, an expert on US-Korean relations, told Al Jazeera that Pyongyang was 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.

    China called for calm following the North's threat to restart its nuclear programme [EPA]
    "The question is whether they will carry it 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 that 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.

    Japan called on Pyongyang to reconsider its actions. Russia said it "regrets North Korea's decision" and also urged it not to quit the talks which bring together envoys from China, the US, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas.

    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.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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