South Korea suffers alien vengeance

North Korea has put the blame squarely on Washington for the impeachment of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, but the Raelian movement has linked the roots of the political crisis to a much higher power.

The Swiss-based group, which believes extraterrestrials created humankind, said Roh's predicament was a direct consequence of alien ire over his government's refusal to allow a leader of the group to visit South Korea.

"President Roh's misfortunes and sufferings including this impeachment motion are retributions by the Elohim because his government denied His Holiness Rael's entry to Korea," a statement from the International Raelian Movement said.

The movement says "Elohim", a biblical reference, refers to "those who came from the sky", supporting its belief that scientifically advanced aliens created life on earth.

Rael, whose real name is Claude Vorilhon, is the founder of the group, which says it has more than 60,000 members in 90 countries. The French-born founder said he had an extraterrestrial encounter in 1973 when he was told to prepare the way for an alien return to earth.

The statement said the group's founder was denied entry to South Korea on August 2 last year "on the pretext that he could cause social disorder by trying human cloning".

The group made waves at the end of 2002 after a company linked to the Raelian movement said it had produced the first human clone, a baby girl. But despite releasing photographs, the company has not produced DNA evidence to back its cloning claim.

South Korea's secretive communist neighbour and rival has a different theory for the political crisis.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency quoted a spokesman as saying the United States had hatched a plot starting last October resulting in Roh's impeachment on Friday.