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North Korea threatens war against U.S.

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061011/ap_on_re_as/koreas_nuclear North Korea threatens war against U.S. By HANS GREIMEL, Associated Press Writer 47 minutes ago
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2006

      North Korea threatens war against U.S.

      By HANS GREIMEL, Associated Press Writer 47 minutes

      SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea warned on Wednesday
      that increased U.S. pressure over the regime's
      reported nuclear test could be considered an act of
      war, and South Korea suggested it would build up its
      conventional arsenal to deal with its belligerent

      North Korea's No. 2 leader threatened to conduct more
      nuclear tests if the United States continued what he
      called its "hostile attitude."

      Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United
      States would not attack North Korea, rejecting a
      suggestion that Pyongyang may feel it needs nuclear
      weapons to stave off an Iraq-style U.S. invasion.

      In its first formal statement since the test, North
      Korea said it could respond to U.S. pressure with
      "physical" measures.

      "If the U.S. keeps pestering us and increases
      pressure, we will regard it as a declaration of war
      and will take a series of physical corresponding
      measures," the North's Foreign Ministry said in a
      statement carried by the official Korean Central News
      Agency. The statement didn't specify what those
      measures could be.

      Japan planned to impose a total ban on North Korean
      imports and prohibit its ships from entering Japanese
      ports, a news report said. The sanctions will also
      expand restrictions on North Korean nationals entering
      Japan, the country's public broadcaster NHK said.

      The sanctions, which also expand restrictions on North
      Korean nationals entering Japan, are to be announced
      following an emergency security meeting headed by
      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later Wednesday, according
      to NHK.

      Cabinet spokesman Hiroshi Suzuki confirmed a security
      meeting was scheduled, but refused to discuss its
      agenda. He said sanctions, if approved, could take
      effect immediately.

      Along the razor-wired no-man's-land separating the
      divided Koreas, communist troops on the North's side
      were more boldly trying to provoke their Southern
      counterparts: spitting across the demarcation line,
      making throat-slashing hand gestures, flashing their
      middle finger and trying to talk to the troops, said
      U.S. Army Maj. Jose DeVarona of Fayetteville, N.C.,
      adding that the overall situation was calm.

      It appeared to be business as usual on the streets of
      North Korea's capital. Video by AP Television News
      showed people milling about Kim II Sung square and
      rehearsing a performance for the 80th anniversary of
      the "Down with Imperialism Union."

      Kim Yong Nam, second to North Korean leader Kim Jong
      Il, told Japan's Kyodo News agency that further
      nuclear testing would hinge on U.S. policy toward the
      communist government.

      "The issue of future nuclear tests is linked to U.S.
      policy toward our country," Kim was quoted as saying
      when asked whether Pyongyang will conduct more nuclear

      "If the United States continues to take a hostile
      attitude and apply pressure on us in various forms, we
      will have no choice but to take physical steps to deal
      with that," Kyodo quoted him as saying.

      South Korea's defense minister said that Seoul could
      enlarge its conventional arsenal to deal with a
      potentially nuclear-armed North Korea.

      "If North Korea really has the (nuclear) capabilities,
      we will improve and enlarge the number of conventional
      weapons as long as it doesn't violate the principle of
      denuclearization," Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung
      told parliament.

      "We will supplement (our ability) to conduct precision
      strikes against storage facilities and intercept
      delivery means, while also improving the system of
      having military units and individuals defend
      themselves," he said.

      Scientists and other governments have said Monday's
      underground test has yet to be confirmed, with some
      experts saying the blast was significantly smaller
      than even the first nuclear bombs dropped on Japan
      during World War II.

      North Korea appeared to respond to that Wednesday,
      saying in its statement that it "successfully
      conducted an underground nuclear test under secure

      In rare direct criticism of the communist regime from
      Seoul, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said that
      the security threat cited by North Korea is
      exaggerated or nonexistent.

      "North Korea says the reason it is pursuing nuclear
      (weapons) is for its security, but the security threat
      North Korea speaks of either does not exist in
      reality, or is very exaggerated," Roh said, according
      to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

      He spoke even as South Korea's military was checking
      its readiness for nuclear attack, Yonhap said. The
      Joint Chiefs of Staff told Defense Minister Yoon
      Kwang-ung that the military needed an improved ability
      to respond to such an attack, including
      state-of-the-art weapons capable of destroying a
      nuclear missile, the report said.

      Rice said President Bush has told the North Koreans
      that "there is no intention to invade or attack them.
      So they have that guarantee. ... I don't know what
      more they want."

      Rice told CNN Tuesday that Bush "never takes any of
      his options off the table. But is the United States,
      somehow, in a provocative way, trying to invade North
      Korea? It's just not the case."

      The top U.S. general in South Korea said that American
      forces are fully capable of deterring an attack from
      the North despite the communist nation's claim of a
      nuclear test.

      "Be assured that the alliance has the forces necessary
      to deter aggression, and should deterrence fail,
      decisively defeat any North Korean attack against"
      South Korea, U.S. Army Gen. B.B. Bell said in a
      statement to troops. "U.S. forces have been well
      trained to confront nuclear, biological and chemical

      About 29,500 U.S. troops are deployed in the South, a
      remnant of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a
      cease-fire that has never been replaced by a peace

      Bell said the seismic waves detected after the claimed
      test were still being analyzed and that it had not
      been yet determined if they indicated a successful
      nuclear test.

      A media report that North Korea may have conducted a
      second nuclear test rattled nerves Wednesday, but the
      Japanese government said there was no indication that
      a test had taken place.

      NHK reported around 8:30 a.m. that unidentified
      government sources were saying that "tremors" had been
      detected in North Korea.

      South Korean and U.S. seismic monitoring stations said
      that they hadn't detected any activity indicating a
      second test, and White House spokesman Blair Jones
      said the United States had detected no evidence of
      additional North Korean testing.

      At the United Nations, China agreed to punishment of
      North Korea but not severe sanctions backed by the
      U.S., which it said would be too crushing for its
      impoverished communist ally.

      Beijing is seen as having the greatest outside
      leverage on North Korea as a traditional ally and top
      provider of badly needed economic and energy aid.

      The United States asked the
      U.N. Security Council to impose a partial trade
      embargo including strict limits on Korea's weapons
      exports and freezing of related financial assets.

      All imports would be inspected too, to filter
      materials that could be made into nuclear, chemical or
      biological weapons.

      Pyongyang has demanded one-on-one talks with
      Washington and has threatened to launch a
      nuclear-tipped missile if the U.S. doesn't comply.

      Washington insists on the so-called six-party format,
      where Russia, China, South Korea and Japan have joined
      the United States in talking to North Korea.
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