INSTANT VIEW: Reaction to N.Korea's announcement

SINGAPORE Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:32am EDT

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday it has decided to suspend disabling its nuclear facilities and will consider restoring the Yongbyon nuclear reactor because the United States had violated a six-party disarmament deal.

Following are comments on the North Korean statement.

LEE DONG-BOK, SENIOR ASSOCIATE CSIS THINK TANK IN SEOUL

"North Korea is trying to muddle through and delay as much as possible. At the same time, this is a last ditch effort trying to somehow influence U.S. presidential politics.

"If the Bush administration and others in the international community had committed to North Korea going through with the third phase, of completely abandoning its nuclear weapons program, well that was a pipe dream. There was no way for the parties to graduate from the second phase.

"I think the timing of the Hu Jintao visit to South Korea was very depressing to the North Koreans. That is the way they usually express themselves.

"North Korea, whether right or wrong, has the understanding that even with this, that Washington and Seoul are not in a position to react in a harsh manner. This means that North Korea may succeed in prolonging the process without giving up much.

"I think something that was quite predictable. For North Korea there was no other choice available other than doing what they are doing."

KOH YU-HWAN, DONGGUK UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF NORTH KOREAN

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"This sudden move was not entirely unexpectable, as the U.S. has irked North Korea by delaying the removal of North Korea from the list of terrorism-sponsoring states and South Korea and the U.S. did the joint military drill, which was seen as a threat to the North. Those steps angered North Korea and it seems to have come to think that they still need nuclear weapons."

"I do not believe that North Korea whole-heartedly said they will go back to the starting point in terms of denuclearization process. I see it as another card at the negotiation table to urge the U.S. to remove it from the terrorism blacklist as soon as possible."

SHI YINHONG, RENMIN UNIVERSITY, BEIJING

"In the last two weeks this has been a gathering storm and I think that North Korea now is particularly dissatisfied that the United States has delayed the process of deleting their country from the list of supporters of terrorism."

"Secondly, I think North Korea is extremely annoyed that the United States and the Republic of Korea launched a large-scale military exercise."

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN SEAN MCCORMACK

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Jerusalem, said he had no immediate comment on the North Korean statement.

(Asia Desk + 65 68703814)

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