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Powell Says North Korea Is 'Up to No Good' In Nuclear Dispute - 2002-12-29


Mr. Powell, appearing on the N-B-C's "Meet the Press" program on Sunday, said the North Korean situation is not a crisis, but it is a concern.

He says the United States is not planning a preemptive strike, because there are a full range of political, economic and diplomatic options.

Mr. Powell also says U-S Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly will visit South Korea and other U-S allies for talks next month concerning the North Korean nuclear crisis.

The communist nation has been moving to reactivate operations at a nuclear complex that experts say could produce weapons within months.

Meanwhile, an editorial in North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper blames the United States for escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and said the nation will not not buckle under U-S pressure.

The editorial also said that Pyongyang still hopes to settle the crisis in a peaceful way.

North Korea says it is reactivating its nuclear program at the Yongbyon complex to generate energy because Washington and its allies halted delivery of heavy oil promised under a 1994 deal. Under the agreement, Pyongyang pledged to shut down its nuclear facilities.

However, the United States cut off oil shipments after North Korea told a visiting U-S official in October that it had a covert nuclear program.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says his nation is trying to use its influence to convince North Korea to halt its nuclear program. Australia is one of several Western nations that have diplomatic relations with North Korea.

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