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N. Korea dismisses Seoul-proposed nuclear deal as 'absurd'

All Headlines 11:58 April 17, 2010

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Saturday dismissed South Korea's proposal for a denuclearization deal with the North that seeks to completely rid the communist nation of its nuclear weapons in a single step, saying a decision to denuclearize will only come in the final stages of negotiations.

The North said Seoul's proposal for the so-called "grand bargain" was part of a smear campaign that does not even deserve serious consideration.

"The so-called 'grand bargain' is such a childish and clumsy plot that does not even deserve a mention," Rodong Sinmun, a newspaper published by the North's Workers' Party, said in a commentary carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

The proposed deal, suggested by Seoul last year, seeks to denuclearize the North in one step in exchange for massive economic assistance for the impoverished North.

The commentary said such a proposal does not consider the reason North Korea came to develop nuclear weapons in the first place.

"If they wish to talk about ways to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, they should at least understand the basic essence of the issue," it said.

"It is not only absurd to say they will discuss issues that will only come at the last stage of negotiations on the nuclear issue, but makes us wonder how they will resolve all the issues that are required to resolve the nuclear issue, such as the pullout of U.S. troops, end of joint military exercises and a peace treaty between the DPRK and the U.S., all at the same time," it said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea refuses to attend the six-nation nuclear negotiations until U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang are lifted and the launch of discussions for an official peace treaty to replace the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

The armistice was signed by North Korea, China and the United States, acting on behalf of the U.N. combined forces, and left North and South Korea technically at war.

The nuclear negotiations, involving both South and North Korea, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia, were last held in December 2008.


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