North Korea's State media praised the country's leader Sunday
for standing up to its enemies a day after the army's chief of
staff vowed to take action against US sanctions after the latest
round of nuclear disarmament talks ended in deadlock.
In a lengthy editorial, Rodong Sinmun newspaper lauded
Kim Jong-il for his "iron-like pluck and grit" and for trying to
build a powerful military that no enemy would dare confront.
The newspaper also said North Korea displayed its determination
to "mercilessly punish aggressors trying to pick a fight with us" a
possible reference to the harsh international reaction to its
October 9 nuclear test.
On Saturday, army chief of staff Kim Yong-chun accused the
United States of demanding that North Korea unilaterally end its
nuclear program while refusing to lift financial restrictions the
US has imposed on the government.
The nuclear talks held in Beijing last week after a 13-month
break due to a North Korea boycott over the US sanctions ended on
Friday without an agreement to move ahead on nuclear
Negotiators said North Korea has refused to talk about its
nuclear weapons program until the US lifts financial
North Korea nuclear envoy Kim Kye-gwan said on Friday that his
country planned to bolster its atomic arsenal in response to US
"The US is taking a tactic of both dialogue and pressure, and
carrots and sticks," Kim told reporters in Beijing.
"We are responding with dialogue and a shield, and by a shield
we are saying we will further improve our deterrent."
The US and North Korea held financial talks on the sidelines of
last week's Six-Party Talks and are considering another round in
the week starting on January 22 in New York, South Korea's Yonhap
news agency reported.
(China Daily December 25, 2006)