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Pyongyang denounces S Korea's 'dictator'

GENEVA - North Korea stepped up its war of words with South Korea yesterday, accusing the South's President, Kim Young Sam, of being the worst dictator his country had ever known. The attack, assailing President Kim for not allowing South Koreans to grieve for the death this month of North Korea's 'Great Leader', Kim Il Sung, came in a statement from the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

'The inter-Korean relations, which had been heading for reconciliation, have begun turning back to the original point of confrontation due to his provocations,' said the committee. The statement was released in Geneva less than a week before the planned resumption of negotiations between North Korea and the United States on Pyongyang's suspected nuclear-weapons programme.

The talks began on 8 July, but were postponed the next day after the news of Kim Il Sung's death. A historic North-South presidential summit, to have been held last week, was also put off. Seoul last week put on show a North Korean defector who claimed Pyongyang has built five atomic warheads with material diverted from its nuclear power stations. The North Korean statement does not mention the US and directs its bile instead at South Korea's leadership.

'In South Korea there has been no such dictator as Kim Young Sam, whose regime has brought the North-South relations to extreme confrontation,' the committee said. It said that the death of Kim Il Sung, North Korea's ruler for more than 45 years, had been the 'biggest national misfortune for both the North and the South'. The committee said that President Kim had 'perpetrated military provocations' against the North in a 'never-to-be condoned treachery'.

The committee attacked South Korea's decision to ban mourning for Kim Il Sung and to forbid mourners from travelling to the North. 'The anti-national acts of the South Korean rulers are ridiculous and rash acts of wretches whose day are numbered,' it said.