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N. Korea Says Nuclear Pact With US Has Collapsed - 2002-11-21

North Korea says that a 1994 pact with the United States to freeze the communist state's nuclear program has collapsed. The announcement follows last week's decision by Washington and its allies to cut oil supplies to Pyongyang.

North Korea on Thursday accused Washington of causing the collapse of the pact, called the Agreed Framework. The North's official Korean Central News Agency says the halt to oil shipments is a "wanton violation" of the Framework.

The statement also accuses Washington of abandoning other commitments under the pact. The 1994 accord required North Korea, in exchange for supplies of oil and the construction of two light-water reactors to provide electricity to give up its nuclear programs, which had the potential to produce weapons.

But last month, Pyongyang admitted to Washington that it has a new program to build nuclear bombs.

Thursday's stern commentary is the first official response to last week's decision to halt oil shipments. The United States, the European Union, Japan and South Korea agreed to stop the deliveries in an effort to push Pyongyang to give up its weapons program.

Washington and its three allies comprise the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization or KEDO, which is implementing the 1994 accord.

In Thursday's statement, Pyongyang also lashed out at Washington, accusing the United States of having plans for a "pre-emptive nuclear attack" on North Korea. The statement also complains about military exercises the United States conducts with its ally, South Korea. It also criticizes President Bush's inclusion of North Korea in what he calls an "axis of evil" nations that support terror.

KEDO members still plan to build the two light-water reactors in the North, though Washington said earlier this week that the project was open to review. KEDO board members may discuss the issue at a meeting next month.

Washington, Tokyo and Seoul have repeatedly called on the North to halt its nuclear program. But the reclusive Stalinist state has repeatedly said that the United States should sign a bilateral non-aggression pact before it will consider scrapping its weapons program.