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North Korean Defense Chief Warns Of Pre-Emptive Attack On US

AFP | April 10 2006

North Korea's defense chief has warned that Pyongyang could also launch a preemptive attack against the United States, with state media saying soldiers were ready to be "human bombs."

"A preemptive attack is not (the) monopoly of the US, and North Korea will never sit idle till it is exposed to a preemptive attack of the US," Defense Minister Kim Il-Chol said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

"The US is now talking about the six-party talks but in fact, it is zealously inciting hostility toward North Korea while floating all sorts of sheer fictions, utterly indifferent to the talks," he said.

He issued the warning at a meeting Saturday to mark the 13th anniversary of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's reign as chairman of the country's powerful National Defense Commission.

Kim Il-Chol accused Washington of "watching for every chance to attack Pyongyang after listing it as a target of preemptive attack.

"It is the traditional combat method of North Korea to directly counter the pressure and threat of aggression from the enemies, without yielding to them," he said.

Rodong Sinmun, the ruling communist party's daily newspaper, said in an editorial Sunday that the North's military power "has been remarkably strengthened."

"The whole army is replete with the spirit of devotedly defending the leader and all the servicepersons are reliably defending the country and socialism in the spirit of readily becoming human bombs, the spirit of suicide bombing.

"It has modern offensive and defensive means capable of coping with any war," it said.

The comments came as top negotiators from six nations involved in efforts to end North Korea's weapons drive were gathering in Tokyo for a regional security conference.

Six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States are in limbo after Washington accused Pyongyang of counterfeiting US dollars and laundering money.

North Korea denies the charge and demands the United States lift financial sanctions before it returns to the talks.

Pyongyang declared in February last year that it had nuclear weapons. Experts say the country is also busily developing advanced missiles capable of serving as a delivery system.

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