All North Korean envoys asked to wait for ‘important news’

October 18th, 2008 - 11:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Oct 18 (RIA Novosti) Diplomats at all North Korean embassies have been asked to wait for an important message from Pyongyang, a Japanese newspaper reported Saturday. In the instruction, which is believed to have been sent several days ago, all North Korean diplomats were told to cancel all their business trips and stay put in their embassies, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported quoting unnamed sources.

Analysts say the news could be connected with the deteriorating health of North Korea’s reclusive leader Kim Jong-il, or with relations between the two Koreas.

North Korea threatened Thursday to sever all relations with the South unless President Lee Myung-bak ended his “confrontational” policies.

South Korean analysts have interpreted the North Korean threat as an attempt to create a rift between Seoul and Washington, and boost Pyongyang’s bargaining position in international talks on its denuclearisation process.

South Korea’s President Lee, who took office in February, has strengthened ties with the US, while warning that further economic aid to the North could be withheld if Pyongyang fails to meet its nuclear disarmament commitments. He has also pledged to review agreements on bilateral economic projects agreed at North-South summits.

His stance has come as a sharp contrast to that of his two predecessors, who agreed to massive subsidies for the impoverished North in a drive to rebuild relations.

The North Korean commentary, published in the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party, accused Lee of “trampling” on the summit agreements in pursuit of confrontation with the Pyongyang.

The US has recently removed North Korea from its terrorism blacklist. In response, the communist country said it would restart work to disable its nuclear facilities.

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