Page last updated at 04:36 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 05:36 UK

N Korea hits out at South leader

File image of North Korean soldiers in the border village of Panmunjom
North Korea is angry about Seoul's new position on economic aid

North Korea has hit out at the new South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak, warning his tough stance could lead to "catastrophic consequences".

Mr Lee was a US sycophant who was harming stability on the Korean Peninsula, a commentary in Communist Party daily Nodong Sinmun said.

North Korea has been angered by Mr Lee's decision to link economic aid to progress on the nuclear issue.

Last week, it expelled South Korean managers from a joint industrial park.

It also test-fired several short-range missiles off its west coast.

The US described the tests as "not constructive" and has urged Pyongyang to focus on its obligations under a nuclear disarmament deal.

Christopher Hill, the US negotiator on North Korea, is due to arrive in Seoul later on Tuesday for meetings.


Over the past decade, Pyongyang has received millions of dollars from the South - in food aid, to improve transport links and to develop joint economic projects.

Kaesong industrial park (11 December 2007)
North Korea has expelled South Korean managers from Kaesong

But since he took office in February, Lee Myung-bak has turned away from the aid-led "Sunshine Policy" of his predecessors.

From now on, he says, South Korean aid to the North will depend on progress on the nuclear disarmament deal and on human rights issues.

North Korean media accused him of creating "a thorn bush in the way of inter-Korean relations".

"The Lee regime will be held fully accountable for the irrevocable catastrophic consequences to be entailed by the freezing of inter-Korean relations and the disturbance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula due to its sycophancy towards the US and its moves for confrontation with the North," the state daily said.

North Korea did not need help from the South, it added.

"The DPRK (North Korea) will be able to live as well as it wishes without any help from the South as it did in the past."

The tension in inter-Korean ties comes amid apparent deadlock in the six-nation nuclear disarmament deal.

In February 2007, North Korea - which tested a nuclear device in October 2006 - agreed to end its nuclear activities in return for aid.

It has since closed its Yongbyon reactor, but missed a year-end deadline to fully disclose all of its nuclear activities.

Bilateral talks between Mr Hill and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan, have so far failed to break the deadlock.

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