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North Korea Condemns Bush State of the Union Address - 2003-01-31

North Korea has condemned President Bush's State of the Union address this week as an undisguised declaration of aggression and again demanded formal security guarantees from the United States. The North Korea ambassador to China Friday also rejected a multinational approach to solve the looming crisis over its alleged nuclear weapons program.

North Korean Ambassador to China Choe Jin Su issued his government's latest stream of anti-U.S. rhetoric Friday in Beijing. Reacting to President Bush's annual policy address to Congress, Mr. Choe called the administration "deceitful" and full of "extreme warmongers."

Tuesday, Mr. Bush said North Korea has been cheating on its commitments to be nuclear-free and insisted the United States would not be blackmailed into concessions. Although he repeated his commitment to resolve the dispute peacefully.

But Ambassador Choe said Mr. Bush's comments show only how hostile U.S. policy is toward North Korea. The ambassador said that is why North Korea is insisting on a non-aggression treaty with the United States, which must be ratified by Congress.

Despite making clear that North Korea considers the Bush Administration untrustworthy, Mr. Choe ruled out multilateral dialogue and said direct talks with the United States is the only way to resolve the matter.

The United States has said it will talk with the North about how it plans to dismantle its nuclear program and will consider some security guarantees - but Pyongyang has not accepted those terms.

Now the United States is pressing to have North Korea's nuclear violations brought before the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions. So far the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has delayed referring the matter, but could do so later this month.

The crisis began in October when a senior U.S. diplomat said North Korean officials admitted they had been developing a uranium-based nuclear weapons program in violation of international agreements.

North Korea has since denied that, but will say nothing about whether it actually has any bombs. It has also taken a series of provocative actions, including restarting its nuclear facilities frozen under a 1994 agreement, kicking out U.N. nuclear inspectors, withdrawing from the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and threatening to resume ballistic missile tests.