As a vote on UN-sponsored sanctions
is delayed again and amid signs of fresh activity at a launch site
in eastern North Korea... the government of Kim Jong Il Tuesday may
have let on to the real reason behind its recent flexing of
Speaking in South Africa during an official visit, a North
Korean diplomat says his country is willing to continue six-party
talks if the United States drops its sanctions over counterfeiting
and drug trafficking. Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hyong Jun also said
that North Korea had test-fired missiles last week in self-defense,
due to planned joint US-South Korean-Japanese military exercises on
the Korean peninsula.
So far, there's been no response from the US directly aimed at
the North Korean statements... but an American troubleshooter has
been sent to Beijing to work on restarting those talks, which
include Russia, Japan and South Korea.
In the meantime, representatives with South Korea have suggested
Japanese leaders are overreacting with their demand for tough UN
sanctions from the Security Council over North Korea's recent
South Korea "will strongly react to the Japanese political
leaders' arrogance and outrageous rhetoric that further intensifies
the crisis on the Korean Peninsula with dangerous and provocative
rhetoric such as 'pre-emptive strike,'" said South Korean
presidential spokesman Jung Tae-ho to CNN.
Eight of the council's 15 members are scheduled to meet
Wednesday, to continue talks leading up to a vote. But all eyes are
on Beijing as China and North Korea continue talks aimed at getting
the missiles off that launch pad and defusing the situation.