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. Danger of nuclear war mounting on Korean peninsula: North Korea
SEOUL (AFP) Jan 01, 2005
North Korea said Saturday that the risk of a nuclear war was mounting on the Korean peninsula as the United States attempts to "stifle" it by force.

It urged Washington to drop its "hostile" policy toward the communist state and demanded solidarity among all Koreans in order to drive out US troops stationed in South Korea, calling them the "very source of a nuclear war."

The statement was made in a New Year editorial run in North Korean newspapers.

"The danger of a nuclear war is growing on the Korean peninsula as the days go by owing to the US moves to stifle the DPRK (North Korea)," the editorial said, according to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.

"All Koreans should stage a powerful struggle for peace against war in order to drive the US troops out of South Korea, remove the very source of a nuclear war and defend the peace and security on the Korean peninsula," it said.

South Korea has been hosting US troops since the three-year Korean war ended in a tense truce in 1953.

The number of these troops currently stands at 32,500 after the United States redeployed 5,000 soldiers out of South Korea, including 3,600 who were sent to Iraq in August last year.

Next year 3,000 more will go, followed by 2,000 in 2006 and 2,500 in 2007 and 2008 as part of a global redeployment plan.

The editorial said 2004 witnessed a "dynamic struggle against the US imperialists' evermore undisguised brigandish aggression and high-handed practices on the international arena."

It urged the United States "to give up its attempt to stifle the DPRK by force of arms and make a switchover in its hostile policy toward it."

Tensions between North Korea and the United States increased when a standoff erupted in October 2002 over Pyongyang's suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Three rounds of multilateral talks, including the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, have since then taken place but produced little tangible results.

North Korea boycotted a fourth round of the talks scheduled for Beijing in September to wait out the November US presidential elections, according to many analysts.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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