North Korea today accused the United States of plotting a war against it and vowed to fight "to the last man," hours after it expelled two U.N. monitors.
Meanwhile, both South Korea’s president and president-elect urged negotiations to end the standoff between Washington and North Korea.
In a sharp rebuke to the US, Kim Dae Jung, South Korea’s outgoing president, said Washington’s new policy of "tailored containment" to isolate North Korea economically would prove ineffective.
Kim vowed to continue his policy of engagement with North Korea.
Criticism is also growing in the U.S. where Congressional leaders have charged President Bush with creating the crisis in North Korea.
North Korea says that it is willing resolve concerns over its nuclear program if the United States signs a non-aggression treaty. Washington has ruled out any such talks.
On Friday North Korea ordered the expulsion of the two U.N. monitors, depriving the U.N. atomic agency of its final means of monitoring a nuclear program Washington fears will be used to produce atomic weapons.
In response the White House has said they are considering using heavy economic pressure on North Korea.
Yesterday North Korea also hinted that it may withdraw from the global nuclear arms control treaty in response to what it described as the US’s violation of a 1994 deal to provide energy in return for the scrapping of Pyongyang’s plutonium program.
- Tim Shorrock, freelance reporter who has been writing about U.S.-Korean relations for more than 20 years.