The United States has shrugged off North Korean warnings of its &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2003/03/28/45203.html' target=_blank>nuclear weapons capability and ruled out any new incentives to woo back the Stalinist state to multilateral talks designed to end its nuclear weapons program.
"We are confident ... that of course the United States and its allies can deal with any potential threat from &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/366/10578_koreanuclear.html ' target=_blank>North Korea," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Luxembourg at the tail end of her European tour.
"And North Korea I think understands that," the chief US diplomat said, following an official statement from Pyongyang that it had developed nuclear weapons to protect itself against a US attack and would indefinitely boycott six-party talks aimed at dismantling its atomic program, writes the Turkish Press.
"North Korea's rejection of dialogue is the worst possible choice. The North's foreign ministry statement has changed the nature of the nuclear issue," the conservative Dong-A Ilbo newspaper said in one of several strongly worded editorials.
"North Korea may be thinking that it can control the nuclear issue. That would be a gross mistake," it said.
North Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday the country had been forced to boost its defenses and possessed nuclear weapons in the face of U.S. hostility and the policy of the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/politics/2001/01/23/2130.html' target=_blank>Bush administration to seek regime change.
It pulled out of the six-way talks, which also involve the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, but left the door open a crack to a possible resumption of negotiations, says Wired News.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea