- SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea
said Wednesday it would react strongly to a nuclear arms review that U.S.
newspapers say includes contingency plans for using atomic weapons against
seven countries including the communist North.
- In Pyongyang's first response to the review, the official
KCNA news agency said Washington would be "grossly mistaken"
if it tried to attack North Korea with nuclear weapons.
- "The DPRK will not remain a passive onlooker to
the Bush administration's inclusion of the DPRK in the seven countries,
targets of U.S. nuclear attack, but take a strong countermeasure against
it," it said.
- DPRK is the acronym for the country's official title
-- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
- North Korea, which has a track record of rhetorical
did not spell out what form the countermeasure might take.
- "If the U.S. intends to mount a nuclear attack on
any part of the DPRK just as it did on Hiroshima, it is grossly
KCNA said, referring to one of two Japanese cities hit by U.S. atomic bombs
at the end of World War Two.
- "A nuclear war to be imposed by the U.S. nuclear
fanatics upon the DPRK would mean their ruin in nuclear
- The news agency, with trademark ambiguity, did not make
clear in English or the original Korean whether it was implying North Korea
had nuclear weapons to strike back or whether an attack on the North would
cause untold damage to the South, where 37,000 U.S. troops are
- Pyongyang's suspected nuclear weapons program brought
it to the brink of conflict with Washington in 1994, before a diplomatic
deal was struck to freeze the program in exchange for oil supplies and
Western-built nuclear reactors.
- The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times reported
last weekend the Pentagon had conducted a secret nuclear posture review
that raised the possibility of developing new types of nuclear arms and
described contingency plans for using them against Russia, China, Iraq,
Iran, Libya, Syria and North Korea.
- Senior U.S. officials have sought to play down the
about the policy review, saying it is simple prudent planning by Pentagon
- Russia and China have expressed concern about the
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov met President
Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Washington Tuesday to discuss
nuclear arms and seek more details on the review.
- Pyongyang was already smarting from Bush's description
of the North as part of an "axis of evil," along with Iraq and
Iran, for developing weapons of mass destruction.
- North Korea said the latest reports indicated the Bush
administration was "working in real earnest to prepare a dangerous
nuclear war to bring nuclear disasters to our planet and humankind.
- "The U.S. nuclear war scenario is an inhuman plan
to spark a global nuclear arms race and bring the political and military
situation in the world including the Korean peninsula to an extreme pitch