N Korea threatens Seoul over upcoming summit
SEOUL / WASHINGTON
South Korean and US soldiers cheer after a recent joint military drill in South Korea. AP photoNorth Korea yesterday sharpened its criticism of an upcoming Seoul summit, saying any South Korean attempt to address the North’s nuclear program at the meeting would be seen as a declaration of war.
The March 26-27 nuclear security summit, to be attended by U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders, will focus on tackling nuclear terrorism. But the North’s atomic program -- and its widely condemned announcement of a planned rocket launch -- will be debated intensively on the sidelines.
The U.S., Chinese and other leaders will discuss ways to press Pyongyang to scrap its launch when they meet next week.
Obama to visit border
“Any attempt to place the North’s nuclear program on the agenda at the summit will be seen as ‘an extreme insult’ to the North’s deceased leaders who made denuclearization their final wish,” Pyongyang’s official news agency said yesterday. “Any provocative act would be considered as a declaration of war against us and its consequences would serve as great obstacles to talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” The North’s official media frequently refers to the likelihood of war breaking out.
Before the meeting, Obama plans to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, the White House said March 20. March 25’s trip to the most heavily defended border in the world carries obvious Cold War symbolism as Obama tries to foster new nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea. Although U.S. officials regularly go to the DMZ, the presidential visit is likely to be read by the North as a special show of strength to its new, untested leader.
Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.