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[cdn-nucl-l] P¡¯yang Corrects English Version of Nuclear Statement
Posted in the Korea Times on April 22, 2003 and at:
Not a big improvement...
P¡¯yang Corrects English Version of Nuclear Statement
By Seo Soo-min
North Korea yesterday issued a revised version of a statement that had
indicated the Pyongyang regime was at the point of reprocessing irradiated
fuel rods, removing a major obstacle to tomorrows¡¯ talks with the United
The North¡¯s official Korean Central News Agency corrected the
English-language version of a story, carried on its homepage
(www.kcna.co.jp), which had quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday as
saying that the North was ``successfully reprocessing more than 8,000 spent
fuel rods at the final phase.¡¯¡¯
The revised dispatch said the North is ``successfully going forward to
reprocess more than 8,000 spent fuel rods at the final phase.¡¯¡¯
Divergences in the original report in Korean _ which said the North had
progressed ``to the point of reprocessing¡¯¡¯ fuel rods _ led to confusion
in Washington, which said it had detected no such moves.
Hardliners in Washington said Pyongyang¡¯s actions are sufficient reason to
call off the three-party negotiations with North Korea and China on the
nuclear issue planned to open in Beijing tomorrow.
Seoul officials said Pyongyang¡¯s concerns about the possible repercussions
of the statement on the Beijing talks likely led it to change the wording.
``The ambiguity in the original message was devised by the North to catch
the attention of the U.S. and raise the stakes in the Beijing talks,¡¯¡¯ a
Unification Ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
``However, the situation got more serious than expected, so the North
changed its statement,¡¯¡¯ he added.
North Korea has a long history of issuing fuzzy-worded statements on major
decisions, throwing the international media into confusion before quietly
issuing a revision.
On November 17, a North Korea media report published in Korean said the
country has ``come to have¡¯¡¯ nuclear weapons.
After the international media set off alarm bells with headlines such as
``North Korea Admits to Possession of Nukes,¡¯¡¯ Pyongyang silently changed
the wording later in the day, saying it was ``entitled to have¡¯¡¯ nuclear
Earlier this year North Korea also released a misleading report saying it
had ``turned on its nuclear reactor,¡¯¡¯ although it was revealed later that
the reactor was only being readied to be turned on at the time.