N. Korean President Denies A-Arms Plan : Asia: Kim brushes aside Seoul's demand for early inspections, revives call for U.S. troop withdrawal.


Brushing aside a South Korean demand for early, mutual nuclear inspections, North Korean President Kim Il Sung declared Thursday that his Stalinist nation has no ambitions to produce nuclear weapons and demanded that the south expel 40,000 U.S. troops.

Kim also dimmed South Korean hopes for rapid progress toward reconciliation of the two states, adversaries since the 1950-53 Korean War, by failing to mention a possible summit with South Korean President Roh Tae Woo.

In October, 1990, Kim said he would meet Roh for the first north-south summit if the two countries' prime ministers agreed on rapprochement and eventual reunification. Agreements spelling out those goals--as well as denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula--took effect Wednesday.

But in a meeting Thursday in Pyongyang with visiting Prime Minister Chung Won Shik, and over lunch with Chung and six other South Korean delegates, Kim focused on denials of nuclear intentions.

The sixth round of prime ministers' meetings ended with announcement of new agreements to hold committee meetings and stage a seventh round of the high-level talks May 5-8 in Seoul. Chung and his party of 90 are to return to Seoul today.

"We do not possess nuclear weapons," Kim told the South Korean prime minister. "We are not making any nuclear weapons. Nor do we have a need to make any. We have no intention to confront the bigger nations around us with nuclear weapons. And it is unimaginable to develop nuclear weapons that could obliterate our brethren."

Chung responded that a North Korean agreement to allow mutual nuclear inspections, as specified in one of the agreements put into force Wednesday, is essential to moving forward with rapprochement. But Kim ignored the plea.

Kim, 79, looking fit but significantly heavier than when he was shown on South Korean television meeting a prime minister from Seoul for the first time in 1990, also resurrected an old North Korean demand that the Seoul government has rejected--the removal of 40,000 American troops from the south. "No longer is there any need to have foreign military forces stationed within the country. Nor is there any need to maintain foreign military bases. Now is the time that we should make a decision on this issue," Kim told Chung.

Yon Hyong Muk, North Korea's prime minister, made the same demand in talks with Chung in the morning. Unlike Kim, he mentioned America by name and demanded removal of the troops and permanent cancellation of an annual large-scale U.S.-South Korea military exercise called Team Spirit. Those maneuvers, usually conducted in February, were dropped this year to create a favorable atmosphere for the north and south to hammer out the pledges of nonaggression, denuclearization, economic cooperation and exchanges of people that took effect Wednesday.

Yon renewed old demands that South Korea abolish its anti-Communist National Security Law and free prisoners jailed for visiting the north without Seoul's permission.

For the first time, he urged Chung to take joint action to demand compensation from Japan for forced prostitution of Korean women during World War II.

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