Tuesday, September 28

Uh...Um...Uh...Hey? Uh...Hate to Break Up the Iraq Conversation...

...but North Korea has...uh...that...thing we thought Saddam had but didn't.
Minister: N. Korea Has Nuclear Deterrent

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - North Korea says it has turned the plutonium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods into nuclear weapons to serve as a deterrent against increasing U.S. nuclear threats and to prevent a nuclear war in northeast Asia.

Warning that the danger of war on the Korean peninsula "is snowballing," Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon provided details Monday of the nuclear deterrent that he said North Korea has developed for self-defense.

He told the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting that Pyongyang had "no other option but to possess a nuclear deterrent" because of U.S. policies that he claimed were designed to "eliminate" North Korea and make it "a target of preemptive nuclear strikes."

"Our deterrent is, in all its intents and purposes, the self-defensive means to cope with the ever increasing U.S. nuclear threats and further, prevent a nuclear war in northeast Asia," he told a news conference after his speech.

In Washington, a State Department official noted that Secretary of State Colin Powell has said repeatedly that the United States has no plans to attack the communist country.

But in his General Assembly speech and at the press conference with a small group of reporters, Choe blamed the United States for intensifying threats to attack the communist nation and destroying the basis for negotiations to resolve the dispute over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

Nonetheless, he said, North Korea is still ready to dismantle its nuclear program if Washington abandons its "hostile policy" and is prepared to coexist peacefully.