N Korea for stronger military, economy in 2008 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 02, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 02, 2008

N Korea for stronger military, economy in 2008

North Korea vowed yesterday in a New Year policy message to strengthen its military and its economy in 2008 but made no mention of its failure to meet a year-end denuclearisation deadline.
The hardline communist state said it was committed to world peace but urged the United States to drop its "hostile" policy -- a precondition it often cites for scrapping its nuclear weapons programme.
A joint editorial in newspapers published by the party, military and youth militia made only one reference to the nuclear issue which has preoccupied the world since the October 2006 atomic test.
It called for efforts to fully utilise "the mental power of all the soldiers and people, which is more powerful than nuclear weapons."
Under a six-nation pact the North was supposed to have disabled its main atomic plants and declared all its nuclear programmes by December 31 in return for one million tons of fuel oil or equivalent energy aid and diplomatic benefits.
The United States, Japan and South Korea -- members of the negotiations along with Russia, China and the North itself -- expressed disappointment at the missed deadline.
Disablement work started in November but has reportedly slowed down.
The State Department said its top nuclear envoy Christopher Hill was now expected to hold talks with officials from Japan, South Korea, China and Russia on the next steps.
The editorial, without elaborating, hailed 2008 as a year "when a great change will be brought about in the history of our country and our revolution."

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