North Korea attacks South Korea’s leader Lee for first time

•April 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

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SEOUL  ( 2008-04-01 09:55:23 ) : 

North Korea on Tuesday launched its first verbal attack on South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak since he took office, saying his tougher policy towards Pyongyang would have ‘catastrophic consequences.’
The lengthy and vitriolic attack, describing Lee, who took office in late February, as a US sycophant and a traitor, comes as tensions are rising between the two nations.
“Lee Myung-Bak should not misjudge the patience and silence so far kept by the DPRK (North Korea),” declared a commentary in Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the ruling communist party.
“The Lee regime will be held fully accountable for the irrevocable catastrophic consequences to be entailed by the freezing of inter-Korean relations and the disturbance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula due to its sycophancy towards the US and its moves for confrontation with the north.”
On Sunday the North’s official media claimed that Seoul was planning a preemptive military strike and threatened to turn South Korea into “ashes” if it went ahead.
In the past six days the North has expelled South Korean officials from a joint industrial complex, test-fired missiles, accused Seoul of breaching a disputed sea border and threatened to suspend all dialogue.
Seoul media reports say sorties by the North’s jet fighters have also increased near the heavily fortified border.
The commentary on Tuesday was carried in a 2,100-word report on the Korean Central News Agency.
It expressed anger at Lee’s tougher stance on cross-border relations, especially his decision to link long-term economic aid to progress in nuclear disarmament and to raise the North’s human rights record.

Afghan president heads to Nato summit

•April 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

KABUL  ( 2008-04-01 19:30:58 ) : 

President Hamid Karzai headed on Tuesday to a Nato summit where he is to tell countries tackling a Taliban-led insurgency that Afghanistan lacks the capacity to effectively fight terrorism, his office said.
Karzai is due to address a special session on Thursday of the April 2-4 summit at which countries in the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are expected to pledge extra troops and resources to the battle.
A statement from Karzai’s office announcing his departure said the president’s speech would cover “the lack of capacity to effectively fight terrorism.”
It would also touch on the need for the Afghan National Army to take greater responsibility for security in Kabul and other major cities, and the Nato strategy in Afghanistan, it said.
Karzai would meet the heads of several nations with troops taking part in ISAF, including the leaders of major players Britain and Canada, as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has just sent a new envoy to Afghanistan.
After the Nato summit, Karzai was to travel Friday to Hungary, which has about 200 troops in ISAF, to meet top officials there, his office said.
He was accompanied by his foreign minister, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, and defence minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, as well as other top officials.