23 July 2009

N Korea has no friends - Clinton

By Martin Petty and Jack Kim in Phuket, Thailand

NORTH Korea has no friends left to shield it from the international community's demands that the country scrap its nuclear activities, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
Mrs Clinton said many nations had told a low-level North Korean delegation at regional talks in Thailand that they were concerned by Pyongyang's recent "provocative" behaviour, which has included nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Speaking at a news conference, Mrs Clinton said North Korea's pursuit of its nuclear ambitions could provoke an arms race in North Asia, one of the world's most dynamic regions and responsible for a sixth of the global economy.

"Our partners in the region understand that a nuclear North Korea has far-reaching consequences for the security future of northeast Asia ... This would serve no nation's interests," she said on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Phuket.

"There is no place to go for North Korea, they have no friends left that will protect them from the international community's efforts to move towards denuclearisation."

Mrs Clinton said the North Korean delegation gave no sign the country was interested in ending its nuclear program, which took centre stage at the talks.

North Korea, bristling at being described by Mrs Clinton this week as behaving like an unruly child, responded in kind today, calling her vulgar and less than clever.

The North's KCNA news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying her comments "suggests she is by no means intelligent".

"Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping," KCNA said. Reuters