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N. Korea says US causing unrest

Critics of America meet at summit

Parliament leader Kim Yong Nam says North Korea wouldn’t need nuclear arms if America were not a threat.
Parliament leader Kim Yong Nam says North Korea wouldn’t need nuclear arms if America were not a threat. (Luis Acosta/ AFP/ Getty images)

HAVANA -- North Korea's number two leader blamed the lack of world peace on the United States yesterday at the Nonaligned Summit, saying that because of Washington's failure to respect the sovereignty of other nations, ``the international order is destroyed."

Parliament leader Kim Yong Nam said desires for peace by the 118 countries in the Nonaligned Movement were ``confronted with grave challenges owing to the high-handed acts and unilateralism of the superpower, which denies countries and nations the independent choice of development."

The resulting imbalance in global politics constitutes ``grave threats to world peace and security," he said.

It was the latest anti-American statement at a meeting that has brought together some of the staunchest US foes, including the presidents of Iran, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

The summit opened Friday when Cuba took over the three-year leadership of the group from Malaysia.

Cuba's Defense Minister Raúl Castro stood in place of his brother, Fidel, who is recovering from intestinal surgery.

The United States has declined an invitation to attend the Nonaligned summit in Havana and said it would have no comment on any of the proceedings.

The Nonaligned Movement was formed during the Cold War to establish a neutral third path in a world divided by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Fidel Castro has yet to make an appearance at the summit, but has met with individual leaders in private, including UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Kim also defended the North's nuclear program amid concerns the communist country may be preparing to carry out an atomic weapons test.

North Korea ``has been left with no other option but to possess nuclear weapons as a self-defensive deterrent," he said. ``The DPRK would not need even a single nuclear weapon if there no longer existed a US threat."

DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

Kim said US financial restrictions aimed at Pyongyang have created a deadlock in six-nation talks on its nuclear program, pushing the issue into ``an unpredictable phase."

Recently, the United States has moved to sever North Korea's connections to outside banks, alleging any transactions conducted by the Pyongyang regime are suspect and could be connected to illegal activity -- including money laundering and counterfeiting US dollars.

Nuclear talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States were last held in November, when negotiators failed to make progress on implementing an agreement in which the North pledged to give up its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

Also yesterday, Pakistan and India agreed to restart peace talks that were suspended after train bombings killed more than 200 people in Mumbai in June -- part of a wave of attacks India blames on Pakistan-based militants.

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