North Korea is claiming it is next in line after Iraq for an attack by the United States. And, as VOA-TV's David Cohler reports, today Pyongyang dropped its last remaining international military contacts.
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At a graduation ceremony for military cadets Wednesday, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun dismissed North Korean allegations that U.S. forces might attack. President Roh told the gathering that Washington has repeatedly pledged to resolve its concerns over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program peacefully.
Accusing the United States of planning an invasion, North Korea Wednesday cut off the only regular military contact with the U.S.-led command that monitors the Korean War armistice. Maurice Strong, a special United Nations Envoy who's been meeting with Pyongyang's leaders, was asked about the move.
MAURICE STRONG, U.N. ENVOY
"They reserve the right to continue to do those things that they believe are necessary in their own interests and their own defense, until such time as they get formal security guarantees."
Last week Pyongyang said it "reserves the right" to reprocess spent fuel rods that experts say could yield enough plutonium for several atomic bombs. North Korea's chief demand is the signing of a non-aggression pact in direct talks with the United States. Washington has refused, saying North Korea's nuclear program is a regional matter that must be handled by regional diplomacy.