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DATE=11/23/98 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-242022 TITLE=NOKOR / NUKE (S & L) BYLINE=CHRIS SIMKINS DATELINE=HONG KONG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: NORTH KOREA STRONGLY DENIED TODAY (MONDAY) IT IS BUILDING AN UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR FACILITY AND ACCUSED SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES OF WAGING A SMEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PYONGYANG GOVERNMENT. CORRESPONDENT CHRIS SIMKINS HAS MORE ON THE STORY FROM THE VOA ASIA NEWS CENTER. TEXT: NORTH KOREA SAYS ALLEGATIONS IT IS BUILDING AN UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR FACILITY ARE UNTRUE. THE GOVERNMENT'S CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY ACCUSED SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES OF SLANDERING THE NORTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT BY WHAT IT CALLED THE NON-EXISTENT SUSPICION OF A NUCLEAR FACILITY. THE REPORT, MONITORED IN TOKYO, WAS THE FIRST DIRECT PUBLIC RESPONSE TO U-S WARNINGS TO PYONGYANG TO ABANDON ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. THE STATE-RUN NEWS AGENCY MAINTAINS THE ACCUSATIONS WERE LAUNCHED TO COINCIDE WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON'S RECENT TRIP TO SOUTH KOREA AND TO MAKE IT SEEM AS THOUGH PYONGYANG WAS INCREASING TENSIONS ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA. PYONGYANG ALSO CRITICIZED SOUTH KOREA FOR SAYING THAT A NORTH KOREAN SPY SHIP HAD CROSSED INTO SOUTH KOREAN WATERS LAST FRIDAY. /// REST OPT FOR LONG-CR /// THE NORTH KOREAN STATEMENT COMES A DAY AFTER PRESIDENT CLINTON TOLD U-S SOLDIERS' PATROLLING THE HEAVILY FORTIFIED DEMILITARIZED ZONE BETWEEN THE TWO KOREAS THAT THEY MUST REMAIN VIGILANT IN THE FACE OF SIGNS OF DANGER FROM NORTH KOREA. LAST WEEK, NORTH KOREA DENIED U-S REQUESTS TO INSPECT THE AREA WHERE AMERICAN OFFICIALS BELIEVE THE UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR FACILITY IS BEING BUILT. PYONGYANG OFFERED TO ALLOW INSPECTIONS OF THE SITE -- IF THE UNITED STATES PAID 300 MILLION DOLLARS. THAT OFFER WAS REJECTED. NORTH KOREA HAS INSISTED THE FACILITY, NORTH OF ITS CAPITAL, IS FOR CIVILIAN USE. U-S ENVOY CHARLES KARTMAN, WHO RETURNED FROM NORTH KOREA LAST WEEK, TOLD REPORTERS THAT A 1994 DEAL TO BUILD TWO LIGHT WATER NUCLEAR REACTORS AND PROVIDE FUEL OIL TO NORTH KOREA COULD BE IN DANGER UNLESS PYONGYANG ALLOWS ACCESS TO THE UNDERGROUND SITE. IN EXCHANGE FOR THE ASSISTANCE, PYONGYANG PLEDGED TO SUSPEND ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM. TENSIONS ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA HAVE BEEN ON THE RISE SINCE AUGUST WHEN NORTH KOREA TEST-FIRED A MISSILE WHICH FLEW OVER JAPAN. PUBLISHED REPORTS ALSO SAY NORTH KOREA IS PREPARING TO TEST LAUNCH ANOTHER MISSILE AND IS IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING AT LEAST TWO MORE LAUNCH FACILITIES FOR ITS MEDIUM-RANGE MISSILE,. (SIGNED) NEB/CS/FC/KL 23-Nov-98 5:37 AM EST (1037 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .