North Korea warns US of new demands in nuclear standoff

Associated Press

Seoul, March 8:

North Korea threatened new counter-demands today in the standoff with the United States over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, saying it may insist on the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea and a “verifiable and irreversible” security guarantee from Washington.

North Korea said it would forward the new demands if the United States failed to drop its own demand that Pyongyang “completely, verifiably and irreversibly” dismantle its nuclear weapons programmes. North Korea has said it is willing to give up its nuclear programme in return for energy and economic aid, as well as a US guarantee that it will not invade the communist country.

But a second round of six-nation talks aimed at brokering a deal ended last month without a major breakthrough. Delegate nations differed over which programmes and nuclear sites should be subject to dismantling and inspection and over how any dismantling would be verified, South Korean officials have said.

North Korea said if the US continues to insist on complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling, it would offer its own demands. “With the US demanding complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling, we too cannot but demand the complete withdrawal of US military stationed in South Korea in a verifiable manner, and also a complete, verifiable and irreversible security guarantee,” the report said.