Clinton Says He Threatened
To Attack North Korea


ROTTERDAM (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said on Sunday his administration threatened North Korea with the destruction of its nuclear facilities when the Asian state was developing weapons-grade plutonium in the early 1990s.
"We were in a very intense situation with North Korea. They were planning to produce six to eight nuclear weapons per year with plutonium extracted from power plants," Clinton said in a speech to a security forum in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.
"We actually drew up plans to attack North Korea and to destroy their reactors and we told them we would attack unless they ended their nuclear program."
North Korea this month said it planned to restart a nuclear reactor that could be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium.
The plant was idled under a 1994 agreement with the United States aimed at preventing the reclusive Stalinist state from developing nuclear weapons.
Seoul described the decision as "unacceptable" and both the United States and South Korea have put fresh pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.
Impoverished North Korea, which relies heavily on foreign aid to feed its people, says it needs the complex for power.
"They probably don't intend to sell these weapons but instead bargain for more aid by threats. I approve of the approach by President (George W.) Bush to work with the South Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Russians to end this program -- but make no mistake about it, it has to be ended," said Clinton.
"You do not want North Korea making bombs and selling them to the highest bidder because they cannot feed themselves through the winter."
Under the 1994 pact, North Korea agreed to freeze operations at the Soviet-era nuclear complex in exchange for heavy fuel oil and construction of two light- water reactors, less likely to yield weapons-grade fuel.
When Pyongyang told an American envoy in October that it had been pursuing a separate, clandestine uranium-enrichment program, the United States and its South Korean, Japanese and European Union allies decided to halt fuel oil shipments.
Bush has branded North Korea part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and Iran.


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