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Security Council to Discuss North Korea Next Week - 2003-01-10


The United Nations Security Council will meet next week to discuss North Korea's withdrawal from the global treaty designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

A Council spokesman made the announcement Friday, hours after Pyongyang's ambassador to the United Nations warned that any move toward imposing sanctions on his country would be a declaration of war. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon said his government decided to withdraw from the nuclear treaty because of what he called a U-S policy of threats and intimidation to bully North Korea.

During a rare meeting with reporters at U-N headquarters, the ambassador said Pyongyang has no intention at this time of producing nuclear weapons. But he said that could change, depending on the attitude of the United States.

In Washington, the Bush administration condemned North Korea's latest move. Vice President Dick Cheney said North Korea's actions threaten to undermine decades of nuclear control efforts and will only further isolate the reclusive communist country.

Ambassador Pak said North Korea still wants to resolve the situation peacefully, through negotiation.

He declined comment on talks between his deputy, Han Song Ryol, and the former U-S ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson. Mr. Richardson was holding those talks in New Mexico, where he is the governor.

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung said the North Korean announcement has worsened the nuclear crisis on the peninsula. He called an emergency meeting of his national security team.

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