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All Headlines 14:15 July 30, 2009

*** NEWS IN BRIEF (Part 2)

North Korea Likens Clinton to 'Primary Schoolgirl'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on July 23 told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to stop backbiting Pyongyang over its nuclear program, comparing her to a "primary schoolgirl" who doesn't understand the situation.

In remarks carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a foreign ministry spokesman responded to a comment by Clinton in which she likened North Korea's leaders to "unruly teenagers" who seek to gain U.S. attention through nuclear and missile activities.

"Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping," the unidentified spokesman said.

"It is our view that she can make even a little contribution to the implementation of the U.S. administration's foreign policy as secretary of state only when she has understanding of the world," he was quoted as saying in English-language report.

In a television interview on July 20, Clinton said North Korea is "acting out" to "try to elevate (itself) to center stage." The chief U.S. diplomat said Washington would not give the North the satisfaction it seeks, while playing down the threat North Korea poses to the U.S.

North Korea rejected Clinton's criticism, saying it was "the U.S. that helped the DPRK (North Korea) to become the world focus," and said its nuclear program is a self-defense measure against hostile U.S. policy.

"Her words suggest that she is by no means intelligent," the spokesman said. "The DPRK has taken necessary measures to protect the nation's sovereignty and right to existence in order to cope with U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threats, not to attract anyone's attention."

The spokesman also called Clinton "a funny lady as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community."


North Korea Blasts '2009 Reunification White Paper'

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on July 24 criticized a white paper recently issued by South Korea's Unification Ministry as an "anti-reunification document that fraudulently used the title of unification."

South Korea has published the white paper annually since 1991 to describe how its reunification policy has changed under successive governments and give details of the current government's policy.

The "2009 White Paper on Unification" released July 17 contains the developments of inter-Korean relations and South Korea's policy toward Pyongyang last year, which was President Lee Myung-bak's first year in office.

The North specifically criticized the book's description of last year as a period of adjustment to establish new inter-Korean relations.

"This is ridiculous sophistry as it justified their treacherous policy of confrontation toward the DPRK (North Korea) and distorted the realities of the inter-Korean relations," the Secretariat of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said in a report.

Pyongyang has so far rolled up almost all cross-border economic projects and stepped up military threats in protest over conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's hardline policy toward the socialist nation.

Lee has raised the issue of North's human rights problems internationally and called for efforts to scrap its nuclear programs. In response, North Korea tightened its border with the South, suspended almost all cross-border cooperation programs and stepped up war threats.

Pyongyang is especially infuriated at Seoul's reluctance to carry out a spate of big-budget inter-Korean programs that were agreed upon between the leaders of the two sides in 2000 and 2007. Those projects would require massive South Korean investment in the impoverished socialist state.

"The North-South relations and political situation on the Korean Peninsula has been deteriorating since the launch of the Lee Myung-bak administration," said the report carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "The relations are driven to the worst phase of confrontation in which nobody can predict when the roaring of guns will be heard, not what is called a peaceful period of readjustment."


N. Korea Slams Planned S. Korea-U.S. Military Drill

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea lashed out at South Korea's planned military exercise with the United States on July 26, saying it is a provocative act against the socialist country.

South Korea and the U.S. plan to conduct Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), an annual joint military exercise in which about 56,000 South Korean troops and 10,000 U.S. soldiers will participate, from Aug. 17-27.

The exercise is "a military plan aimed at invading the North, given its content and size," Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency and the (North) Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station said.

The military exercise sheds light on "the shady intention harbored behind the South's banner of peace guarantee and dialogue (sic)," they said.

South Korea and the U.S. maintain that UFG is a purely defensive drill.

The joint exercise comes as tension runs high on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea conducted a nuclear test in May and fired several missiles into the East Sea shortly afterward, for which the United Nations has imposed sanctions on the communist country.

The U.S. has some 28,500 troops station in South Korea as a deterrent against provocations from the North. The two Koreas remain technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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