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North Korea Threatens To Wipe Out US Forces In South Korea

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Jun 19, 2006
North Korea on Sunday threatened to "mercilessly wipe out" US forces in case of war during a national meeting to mark leader Kim Jong-Il's 42 years' work at the ruling party.

The threat, in a ruling party report carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), came as North Korea was reportedly preparing to test-fire a long-range missile despite strong protests from the United States and its allies.

Choe Thae Bok, a ranking Workers Party official, said Washington was "hell-bent on provocations of war of aggression" in the report to mark the 42nd anniversary of Kim's start at the party, KCNA said.

"If the enemies ignite a war eventually, the Korean army and people will mercilessly wipe out the aggressors and give vent to the deep-rooted grudge of the nation," Choe was quoted as telling the meeting.

North Koreans are customarily advised to watch the televised event, according to Seoul officials who cautiously questioned a news report that had linked the notice to a possible missile launch.

Japanese and South Korean media said North Korea was planning a missile test for this weekend.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying the missile launch could take place either Sunday or Monday.

But as of Sunday, North Korea was not confirmed yet to have fueled the missile at a launch pad in the remote northeast of the country, the final step before a test-firing.

North Korean technicians have already reportedly assembled a multi-stage Taepodong-2, with a range of 3,500 to 6,000 kilometers (2,200 to 3,750 miles).

But South Korea maintained its usual level of military alert on Sunday despite the news reports about an imminent missile test launch.

"The military is on the same level of alert as usual. There has been no upgrade in the military alert yet," a defense ministry spokesman said.

A South Korean lawmaker cited North Korean delegations he met in Seoul during last week's inter-Korean celebrations as denying plans to test-fire a ballistic missile, Yonhap said on Saturday.

South Korea, which seeks to reconcile with North Korea after decades of hostility since the 1950-1953 Korean War, has urged Pyongyang to abandon any plans to test-fire the missile.

Both Washington and Tokyo have warned Pyongyang that a test would constitute a "grave and provocative" act.

North Korea shocked the world in 1998 by firing a missile without any warning over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea last year declared it had nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang has boycotted six-way talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program since November, after the United States imposed sanctions on the North for alleged counterfeiting and money-laundering.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Japan Warns North Korea Over Any Missile Attack
Tokyo (AFP) Jun 19, 2006
Japan warned North Korea on Sunday it would regard any test-fired missile that landed on Japanese soil as an attack, after reports the secretive nation was preparing to jangle international nerves with a new missile launch.

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