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North Korea brands Bush 'crazy'

South Korean protesters shout slogans as police officers block their way to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul  

PYONGYANG, North Korea -- North Korean official media has renewed its condemnation of U.S. President George W. Bush over comments he made during his recent State of the Union address, branding him "crazy" and "reckless".

Bush last week said North Korea, Iraq and Iran were an "axis of evil" bent on developing weapons of mass destruction.

North Korea has already condemned that description as being little short of a declaration of war.

On Thursday, the official KCNA news agency took up the theme with renewed vigour, saying Bush's remarks were "extremely reckless" and warning Washington that North Korea reserved the right to self-defence.

"A string of unprecedented war outcries are heard from heavyweights of the U.S. administration and military bosses in the wake of the belligerent 'State of the Union' address," KCNA said. Asia
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North Korea said on Thursday U.S. President Bush's rhetorical assault last week on the communist state "clearly proves how crazy he has become." "The U.S. is well advised to face up to the history and reality if it wishes to distinguish between good and evil and properly cope with it."

In a separate report, KCNA quoted from the North Korean newspaper Minju Joson, saying the United States was trying to hinder reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, Reuters news agency reported.

"Bush's remarks at the U.S. Congress clearly proves how crazy he has become in pursuing the hostile policy to stifle the DPRK," KCNA said, using the acronym for the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Seoul protests

The United States has repeatedly said it is ready to resume dialogue with North Korea at any time.

Bush will visit Seoul later this month as part of an Asian tour and the focus is expected to be firmly on how to tackle ties with North Korea.

Some ruling and opposition politicians in South Korea have expressed disquiet at Bush's comments, but President Kim Dae-jung said the alliance with Washington was paramount even if there were differences in approach.

"There might be policy differences between allied countries, but anti-U.S. sentiment is of no help to national interests," he told South Korean diplomats on Wednesday.

There have already been increased anti-US protests in Seoul in recent days.

On Wednesday, social and religious activists staged a street rally near the U.S. embassy accusing Bush of heightening tension on the Korean peninsula with his State of the Union speech.

The rally was followed by a visit to the embassy by South Korean lawmakers expressing concern over Bush's remarks.

South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung ordered action Thursday to narrow policy differences with the United States over how to handle the North ahead of Bush's visit.


• North Korea in axis of evil
January 30, 2002
• China berates 'axis of evil' remarks
January 31, 2002


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