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North Korea Nuclear War

North Korea Nuclear War - North Korea said today that continuing U.S.-South Korean-Japanese collaboration against the regime in Pyongyang could lead to nuclear conflict, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Dec. 10).

In typically bombastic rhetoric, Pyongyang's state-controlled Rodong Sinmun newspaper characterized the trilateral cooperation as "nothing but treachery escalating the tension between the North and the South and brining the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over the Korean Peninsula."

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have increased their cooperation on the North Korean nuclear impasse amid a series of provocations by the Stalinist state this year. Pyongyang's actions include the shelling last month of an inhabited South Korean island and the calculated unveiling of an advanced uranium enrichment facility at its Yongbyon nuclear complex.

The three nations have pledged not to resume paralyzed six-nation talks aimed at North Korean denuclearization until Pyongyang has taken demonstrable steps toward nuclear disarmament. They have also rejected a Chinese proposal to participate in emergency talks intended to ease escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea Nuclear War

South Korea today began five days of artillery drills at 27 locations. Seoul has responded to the attack on Yeonpyeong Island by conducting joint sea maneuvers with the U.S. and Japanese militaries and amending its defense policy to allow for a robust punitive response to any future North Korean assaults.

A South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff official said this week's maneuvers would not take place close to a contested maritime boundary line near the shelled island (Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press/Yahoo!News, Dec. 13).

North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chin traveled to Russia on Saturday, one day after he reaffirmed his government's nuclear buildup as a necessary deterrent to the South Korean-U.S. military alliance, Agence France-Presse reported.

Russia, while condemning Pyongyang's assault of Yeonpyeong Island, has said it would participate in crisis six-party talks sought by Beijing.

"We need to think about creating conditions to restart talks between the six parties," Moscow's No. 2 nuclear envoy, Grigory Logvinov, said to Interfax on Friday.

Pak said his government remains willing take part in negotiations.

"Even in the atmosphere of the escalated situation, we have expressed support of resuming the six-party negotiation process," Pak said.

North Korea Nuclear War

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