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North Korea: Tyrant is Bush, not Kim - 2004-08-23

North Korea says it sees no reason to join a working-level meeting with the United States to prepare for further six-party talks on the communist state's nuclear weapons development. The comment came in a dispatch from Pyongyang blasting President Bush for his recent criticism of North Korea's leader.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry says insulting remarks made by President Bush make it "impossible" for Pyongyang to participate in projected discussions about its nuclear programs.

The official Korean Central News Agency on Monday carried a Foreign Ministry statement blasting the U.S. President for a recent unflattering reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Mr. Bush, in a campaign speech, said it is necessary for the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia to jointly urge the North Korean "tyrant" to give up his nuclear weapons.

The North Korean dispatch said President Bush is the tyrant, and compared him to the Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler. Dr. Hong Kwan-hee, director of the peace and security division of the Korean Institute for National Unification, says the communist state has been seeking any justification for avoiding negotiations in its weapons programs.

"North Korea wants to get some kind of excuse to continue their nuclear program," he said. "They don't have the sincere attitude to negotiate."

The hostile rhetoric comes as the other nations go ahead with plans for a fourth round of nuclear talks at the end of next month in Beijing.

A number of analysts have suggested that Pyongyang is delaying a next round of talks until it sees who wins the upcoming American presidential election. They also note that it is North Korea's normal negotiating style to make sweeping demands and give away nothing in advance.

Some South Korean officials remain optimistic that the North will eventually negotiate, noting Pyongyang has not categorically ruled out continuing participation in the talks.

North Korea insists that the United States give it security guarantees, end economic sanctions and remove the communist state from Washington's list of state sponsors of terrorism. It also wants economic aid from the others parties to the talks before it gives up its nuclear program.

The other five states, Washington included, want a total dismantling of Pyongyang's weapons programs.