N. Korea hurls insults at Bush, spurns six-party talks

August 25, 2004|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

BEIJING - Striving mightily to goad Washington to pay attention, North Korea called President Bush "human trash" yesterday, raising its invective to a new level a day after labeling the U.S. leader a "political idiot" and comparing him to Hitler.

In its tirade, the communist North Korean government reiterated its contention that future six-party talks on its nuclear weapons program are pointless.

North Korea "can no longer pin any hope on the six-party talks, and there is a question as to whether there is any need for it to negotiate with the U.S. anymore," the statement said.

While North Korea has used insults to capture Washington's attention before negotiations, the latest outpouring came while the talks were in limbo. Many analysts say the North Korean arms crisis has entered relative dormancy until after the U.S. presidential election.

But several factors appear to be irritating Pyongyang, including this week's annual joint military exercises between U.S. and South Korean troops to strengthen their readiness for a possible war with the North. The exercises began Monday and will last 12 days.

South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo Hyuk, meanwhile, arrived in Beijing to discuss ways to end a stalemate over the six-party talks, which are hosted by China and involve the United States, the two Koreas, Russia and Japan.

It's still in doubt whether North Korean envoys will attend working group talks in Beijing this month or more senior-level talks by the end of September.

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