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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 06:35 GMT
N Korea links nuclear deal to US
A US soldier in South Korea
America has had troops in the South since the Korean War
North Korea has linked a US demand for the dismantling of its nuclear weapons programme to the presence of American military bases in the South.

The North's main newspaper played on US demands for "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement", or "CVID", of its weapons programmes.

It said the 37,000-strong US forces stationed in the South should be "completely and verifiably" withdrawn.

Recent talks in Beijing failed to solve the stand-off over the North's plans.

It was at those six-party negotiations in February that the US again called for CVID.

"If the United States demands CVID stubbornly, we are obliged to demand irreversible security guarantees," said the Rodong Sinmun newspaper in an editorial, reported by the North Korean news agency.

Such guarantees would, the paper said, include the "US army stationed in South Korea withdrawing completely and verifiably" and a peace treaty being signed between Washington and Pyongyang.

The paper said the US insistence on the complete dismantling of the North's nuclear deterrent was "the logic of robbery".

Correspondents note that the demands outlined in the article could complicate the next round of six-party talks.

The US, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan agreed in Beijing to meet again before July.


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