North Korea's inclusion with Iran and Iraq on an American list of 'evil' states threatening global peace with weapons of mass destruction has baffled experts. While analysts acknowledged that all three nations possessed or had the potential to produce so-called weapons of mass destruction, none was seen as being an imminent threat to US interests. But one analyst, Paik Hak-soon, a North Korea specialist at the Saejong Institute in Seoul, pointed to a recently released US intelligence report as a source for the claims made by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address. The January 10 report by the National Intelligence Council said that unless major political change took place in the three nations, the US would within a dozen years face ballistic missiles attacks from North Korea and Iran and a partial threat from Iraq. 'North Korea being singled out as one of the evil axis of countries is very strong language and I really am concerned about the negative impact of Mr Bush's address on the future relations of the two countries,' Dr Paik said. He admitted that Pyongyang's Rodong medium-range missiles did pose a threat to South Korea and Japan, which each host tens of thousands of US troops. The missiles did not have the range to reach the US mainland and North Korea had repeatedly indicated it was opposed to terrorism. Dr Paik said: 'The preferable option for the Bush administration is to induce significant changes in the political motivations and initiatives of the North Korean leadership so it will not confront the US militarily and be more responsive to the need for change in a peaceful way.' North Korea and Iran yesterday rejected Mr Bush's accusations. Pyongyang accused Washington of a 'hostile and aggressive' stance which risked taking the two sides towards renewed conflict. South Korea made no response, but officials said privately they were worried by the comments.