North Korea vows to build up 'war deterrent'

AFP
Tuesday, Sept 16, 2008

North Korea on Tuesday renewed criticism of last month's joint US-South Korean military exercise and vowed to strengthen its "war deterrent" in the face of what it called invasion threats.

"Reinforcing war deterrent is one hundred times justifiable," said Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the ruling communist party, in a commentary attacking the war games.

The phrase normally refers to its nuclear weapons programme.

The North has made such threats before, but the latest commentary comes amid stalemate in an international nuclear disarmament deal and uncertainty about the health of leader Kim Jong-Il.

Rodong criticised the annual exercise dubbed Ulchi Freedom Guardian, which was held in South Korea from August 18-22.

"They were rehearsing... to launch a preemptive strike on North Korea," it said, accusing the US of launching various other joint military exercises with South Korea and supplying it with modern weaponry.

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