Skip to comments.North Korea warns of pre-emptive attack on US troops: report
Posted on 02/06/2003 5:32:29 AM PST by kattracks
North Korea has warned it would launch a pre-emptive attack on United States forces if Washington sends more troops to the Korean peninsula, the BBC said.
The threat to strike first against US troops in the region came from North Korea's foreign ministry deputy director, Ri Pyong-Gap, in response to US moves to reinforce its military presence around the Korean peninsula.
US officials have said the Pentagon ordered B-52 and B-1 bombers to prepare for deployment in the western Pacific to back up US forces in South Korea.
They say the reinforcements would help signal that a possible war with Iraq was not distracting the United States from a nuclear stand-off with North Korea.
North Korea's 1.2-million-strong armed forces have been on alert since the crisis escalated in December when the Stalinist country expelled monitors from the United Nations' atomic agency.
Speaking to a visiting BBC correspondent in Pyongyang, Ri said his government was becoming increasingly alarmed at signs that Washington planned to bolster its military firepower in South Korea.
North Korea will regard such actions as an invasion or attack against it, he said, adding that Pyongyang would not just sit and wait and could decide to strike first if necessary.
Tension over North Korea's nuclear ambitions mounted Thursday after Pyongyang's announcement that a nuclear plant capable of making plutonium for nuclear weapons had begun producing electricity.
The announcement came as Washington stepped up war preparations against Iraq, with US Secretary of State Colin Powell unveiling a dossier on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction at the UN.
The United States branded North Korea's announcement "blackmail" after Pyongyang justified the move to restart its reactor as vital for the energy-starved nation.
The BBC said tensions on the streets of Pyongyang are tangible.
Air raid drills and blackouts are becoming twice-daily rituals and huge posters calling for courage in the fight ahead cover billboards and walls.
In Washington, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsefeld, referring to a "dangerous" situation," said North Korea would be making a mistake if it felt it could exploit US preoccupation with Iraq.
"To the extent the world thinks the United States is focused on problems in Iraq, it's conceivable someone could make a mistake and believe that's an opportunity for them to take an action which they otherwise would have avoided," he told members of the US Congress.
The Pentagon has ordered two dozen long-range bombers -- an equal number of B-1s and B-52s -- to prepare to deploy to Guam as a check against North Korea while it masses forces in the Gulf for a possible war against Iraq, US officials have said.
Rumsfeld said North Korea could add to the one or two nuclear weapons it is currently assessed to have by making nuclear material for six to eight more in a relatively short period of time.
"Our forces are arranged around the world -- not in a threatening way but in a way that demonstrates that we do in fact have the capability to act in more than one theater at one time," he said.
US officials reported that spy satellites over North Korea had detected what appeared to be trucks suspected of moving some of 8,000 spent fuel rods out of storage at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
Bush aides have said they are willing to talk to North Korea -- but only about how it can end its twin nuclear programs, which sparked the crisis.
The United States has been seeking to bring the issue before the UN, which could impose sanctions, an act Pyongyang says it would view as a declaration of war.
South Korea opposes the imposition of any sanctions against North Korea and has stressed the need for time to allow diplomacy to work.
Talk is cheap. Woe to them if they were to do that. North Korea still has a little time to try to clean up their act before we get to them. This isn't a good start. But I seriously doubt this is anything more than diplomatic posturing; they know a first strike would bring international condemnation and swift, horrible (and I do mean horrible) retaliation from the US and several other countries. North Korea is gonna be yapping a lot in the coming days. They think we're distracted enough for them to do it. They'll find out differently if they don't STFU soon.
(Welcome to the world of Asian contradiction).
Kim Jong II
He likes fast cars and fast women, he's been implicated in murder and terrorism, and now he's got nuclear weapons. But dismissing the North Korean dictator as crazy plays into his hands.
By Laura McClure
Jan. 10, 2003 | Kim Jong Il likes Daffy Duck and fast cars, and before he became North Korea's dictator he wanted to be a film producer. He was born on the peak of a sacred mountain, he says, and his birth was attended by thunder and lightning.
In 1978 he had spies kidnap his favorite South Korean actress in order to improve North Korean cinema. His agents were implicated in the 1987 bombing of a Korean Air flight, killing 135 passengers, intended to scare away tourists from the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
While his famine-starved people eat tree bark to ease their hunger, he dines on steak and cognac in the company of the "pleasure squad" -- a variety pack of imported blondes and Asian beauties.
He's also in charge of North Korea's nuclear missile program. And when his minions revealed the nation had restarted its nuclear weapons program late last year, and expelled arms inspectors, the unexpected provocation had U.S. diplomats asking a vexing question: How do you negotiate with a madman?
Dr. Kongdan Oh, coauthor of "North Korea Through the Looking Glass," insists the first step is to stop thinking of him as one.
"North Koreans are taught that their leader, Kim Jong Il, was born in a cottage near a sacred mountain - and that at the moment of his birth, rainbows appeared in the sky."
"The United States says that after Iraq, we are next", said the deputy director Ri Pyong-gap, "but we have our own countermeasures. Pre-emptive attacks are not the exclusive right of the US."
It would be like slitting their own throats. Please, PLEASE preemptively attack us.
The more Americans know about this buzzard, the better.
I am only a bit disappointed it has taken this long for most people to truly be introduced to Kim Jong il, after all his regime has done to people and the fact the nutcase commands one of the largest standing armies on the face of the earth.
Are we ever late and lazy in cracking the books and studying our adversaries overseas. But, at least it is a start.
Where is all the bitching from France, Germany, CNN, Susan Sarandon et. al. about North Korea acting unilaterally and without U.N. approval?(sarcasm)
NK is a utopia to these folks. They dream of the day the US becomes the USSA.
Is that a male stripper duo? :p Thunder 'n' Lightnin'. :p
If we nuked just one country the rest of the world would fear us. Good idea! Then theyd talk about us and agree that something needed to be put in place to counter us. Theyd strengthen the UN into exactly the kind of world government with a military and taxes that we fight against. Theyd consider us a renegade state, grow sympathetic to our enemies in the war on terrorism, and wed be given the run around as we demanded their assistance in rooting out members that we think are in their country. Wed be as isolated as France, and there are nuclear states that would probably take advantage of such a shift in world opinion to respond to any further aggression by us on their new allies, not to mention how many new nuclear powers would be created after such a display. That's not the world we want to live in.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.