North Korea warns standoff with US may lead to war
SEOUL: US pressure to make communist North Korea abandon its nuclear ambitions could lead to war at any time, a North Korean daily said on Tuesday.
The latest rhetoric comes as South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun prepares for a trip to China, one of North Korea’s few allies, early next month to discuss the nuclear standoff between the North and the United States.
“The situation on the Korean peninsula is growing tenser as the days go by due to the Bush group’s undisguised moves to stifle the DPRK by force and the acute confrontation between the DPRK and the US may lead to a war any time,” the Korean Central News Agency quoted the Minju Joson as saying.
The daily is published by the North Korean cabinet.
North Korea, whose official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has previously said the administration of US President George W Bush aims to topple its leadership through a military attack.
Bush has labelled North Korea as part of an “axis of evil” along with Iran and pre-war Iraq.
The newspaper also repeated North Korea’s earlier assertions that is has the right to take self-defensive measures and has the will to carry them out.
Ra Jong-yil, the chief national security adviser to South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, is due to fly to China on Wednesday for a four-day stay to prepare the ground for Roh’s visit.
“Under the present circumstances and conditions, the DPRK is compelled not only to increase its nuclear deterrent force but build up something more powerful than that for self-defence,” the newspaper said.
In April, Beijing hosted talks between US, North Korean and Chinese officials during which Pyongyang’s representative said North Korea possessed nuclear weapons and was set to make more and possibly test or transfer them to third parties.
A proposed new round of multilateral talks would expand the Beijing format to include South Korea and Japan, although North Korea has insisted on bilateral talks with Washington. —Reuters