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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 June, 2005, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
N Korea denounces Cheney remarks
Vice President Dick Cheney talks with Larry King during the taping of the interview for 'Larry King Live' at the Naval Observatory in Washington Friday, May 27, 2005.
Mr Cheney said the North Korean leader ran a police state
North Korea has said recent criticism by US Vice-President Dick Cheney reaffirms its decision to stay away from talks on its nuclear programme.

A North Korean spokesman said Mr Cheney's remarks were tantamount to asking Pyongyang to stop negotiating.

Mr Cheney, in an interview broadcast on Sunday, called North Korean leader Kim Jong-il "one of the world's most irresponsible leaders".

North Korea has not taken part in the nuclear talks for a year.

The North Korean spokesman stressed that Mr Cheney's comments, made in an interview with CNN, came at a point when the US and North Korea had reopened its channel of discussion through the UN in New York.

"The remarks of Cheney, boss of the hawkish hard-liners, revealed the true colours of this group steering the implementation of the policy of the Bush administration," North Korea's KCNA news agency quoted the foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

"What Cheney uttered at a time when the issue of the six-party talks is high on the agenda is little short of telling the DPRK [North Korea] not to come out for the talks."

The spokesman also described Mr Cheney as a "cruel monster and bloodthirsty beast".

North Korea also denounced a move by the US last week to send 15 stealth bombers to the South.

"The United States would be well advised to promptly take out of South Korea the F-117 stealth fighter bombers and other military hardware, stop its war moves against the North and withdraw its aggression forces at an early date," KCNA said.

The North described the move as part of a plan for nuclear war.

MIAs stalemate

North Korea also announced on Wednesday that it would permanently shut down a programme to recover the remains of US servicemen missing since the Korean War, after Washington decided to suspend its searches.

United Nations Command Honour Guards stand with coffins which contain the remains of soldiers who fought in the 1950-53 Korean War during a repatriation ceremony at Yangsan US base May 26, 05
The North says it is will no longer help look for MIAs
The Pentagon last week said restrictions placed on recovery teams inside North Korea were too great.

Pyongyang declared the US decision "rude", and said it was dismantling the North Korean side's investigation and recovery unit.

"In consequence, the US remains buried in Korea can never be recovered but are bound to be reduced to earth with the flow of time," an army spokesman said.

Relations between Pyongyang and Washington have been troubled since 2002, and have deteriorated again since North Korea announced in February that it was indefinitely pulling out of international talks on its nuclear ambitions.

Pyongyang said this was due to the US administration's hostile policy towards the North.

North Korea subsequently test-fired a short range missile towards Japan, and announced the extraction of more spent fuel rods from its Yongybyon nuclear reactor, which it said it would use to boost its nuclear arsenal.




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