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North Korea Warns It Will Ignore UN on Suspected Nuclear Weapons Program - 2003-04-05


While the United Nations prepares to consider North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons program next week, North Korea has warned it will ignore anything the United Nations has to say on the subject.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency says it will consider "null and void" any resolution or statements the U.N. Security Council might decide on regarding the North's nuclear program.

In a broadcast monitored in South Korea, KCNA said the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula was "not something that should be discussed at the United Nations."

The Security Council is due to take up the matter on Wednesday, following North Korea's expulsion earlier this year of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA is the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.

The dispute emerged last October, when Washington said North Korea had admitted it had a secret program to enrich uranium. Pyongyang responded to the disclosure by restarting a nuclear reactor that had been shut down, renouncing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and expelling the IAEA inspectors.

Since then, North Korea has engaged in a variety of provocative actions, including the test firing of several missiles. This week, Washington placed trade sanctions on a North Korean company that has allegedly been exporting missile technology.

The sanctions were largely symbolic, since the United States does no business with the North, but the move did add to the rising level of acrimony.

However, an attempt by Washington and Pyongyang to begin a dialogue may be in the works. Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported Saturday that American and North Korean officials held a series of meetings in New York this week, looking for possible points of agreement.

Kyodo says the meetings ended without much progress. Neither side has commented on the reported talks.