Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 10:45 UK

North Korea 'has no friends left'


Hillary Clinton's comments led to a North Korean spokesman calling her a 'funny lady'

North Korea has no friends to protect it from international efforts to end its nuclear programme, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

At an Asian regional forum in Thailand she said there was widespread agreement that North Korea could not be allowed to maintain nuclear weapons.

North Korea's envoy at the meeting said his nation would not re-enter six-party talks on ending its nuclear programme.

A spokesman in Pyongyang added that Mrs Clinton was "not intelligent".

Mrs Clinton said there was widespread concern among the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) over North Korea's recent "provocative behaviour".

Sometimes [Mrs Clinton] looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping
North Korean spokesman

North Korea dropped out of the six-party talks after the UN censured its long-range missile test in April.

An underground nuclear test and further missile tests followed, provoking new UN Security Council sanctions, allowing for inspections of North Korean vessels suspected of carrying banned arms and tighter financial pressure on the already isolated state.

'No place to go'

At the Asean forum on the resort island of Phuket, Mrs Clinton said North Korea's nuclear ambitions threatened regional security and risked triggering an arms race.

"The United States and its allies and partners cannot accept a North Korea that tries to maintain nuclear weapons, to launch ballistic missiles or to proliferate nuclear materials," Mrs Clinton said in Phuket.

"And we are committed to the verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner."

North Korean spokesman Ri Hung Sik in Phuket, Thailand - 23 July 2009
North Korea's spokesman in Phuket said the US had a "hostile policy"

"There is no place to go for North Korea; they have no friends left that will protect them from the international community's efforts to move towards denuclearisation."

Even Burma had said it intended to implement the new UN resolution, she said.

Mrs Clinton outlined benefits for North Korea if it ends its nuclear activity.

"Full normalisation of relations, a permanent peace regime and significant energy and economic assistance are all possible in the context of full and verifiable denuclearisation."

Before she spoke, the spokesman for North Korea's delegation in Phuket, Ri Hung Sik, attacked Washington's "deep-rooted hostile policy" and said there would be no return to the six-party talks until US policy changes.

Separately, a spokesman in Pyongyang described Mrs Clinton as a "funny lady" - responding to her comments that North Korea's behaviour was that of an unruly child.

"Her words suggest that she is by no means intelligent," the spokesman said, quoted by state news agency KCNA.

"Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping. Anyone making misstatements has to pay for them."

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