North Korea threatens attack ?


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

North Korea threatens attack due to war drills
Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:53 AM ET

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it was considering a pre-emptive attack to 
counter a U.S.-South Korean joint military training drill that Pyongyang sees as
a "war action," its official media reported on Tuesday.

In its official media, North Korea said the drills were "an undisguised military
threat and blackmail against the DPRK (North Korea) and a war action".

The drills were a violation of the truce that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War, it

"The Korean Peoples' Army side, therefore, reserves the right to undertake a 
pre-emptive action for self-defense against the enemy at a crucial time it deems
necessary to defend itself," the North's KCNA news agency cited an army 
spokesman as saying.

U.S. and South Korean troops began military drills on Monday dubbed Ulchi Focus 
Lens that are aimed at testing command structures and communications.

The annual exercise has been held without incident since they began in 1975 and 
the North usually brands them as a prelude to invasion and nuclear war.

But the drills this year are being held with tensions high on the peninsula 
after North Korea test-fired a barrage of missiles on July 5 and reports last 
week it may preparing to test a nuclear weapon.

U.S. television network ABC news reported that a U.S. intelligence agency had 
observed suspicious vehicle movements at a suspected North Korean test site. It 
quoted an unidentified senior State Department official as saying a test was a 
real possibility.

Other intelligence experts say there is no sign of an imminent test.

The United States keeps about 30,000 troops in the South to support more than 
650,000 troops South Korea has in uniform. North Korea has a 1.2-million-strong 
army, mostly stationed near the heavily fortified border with the South.

The two Koreas are technically still at war because the Korean War ended with a 
cease fire and not a peace treaty.

Six party talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear programs and
discuss a permanent peace on the peninsula have stalled. Pyongyang, angry over 
U.S. financial sanctions over alleged illicit activities, refuses to attend.

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved.

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