N. Korea Warns Against Pre-Emptive Strike|
Mar 30, 6:54 AM EDT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea threatened
South Korea with destruction Sunday after Seoul's top military officer
said he would consider attacking the communist nation if it tried to carry
out a nuclear attack.
The statement from North Korea's official news agency
marked the third straight day of bellicose rhetoric from the North, which
is angry over the harsher line the South's new president has taken against
the country since assuming office last month.
"Our military will not sit idle until warmongers
launch a pre-emptive strike," said an unidentified KCNA military
commentator. "Everything will be in ashes, not just a sea of fire, if our
advanced pre-emptive strike once begins."
On Friday, North Korea test-fired a barrage of
missiles into the sea and warned it would "mercilessly wipe out" any South
Korean warships that violate its waters near their disputed sea
Such rhetoric by North Korea at times of increased
tensions is not rare, and it comes just two days before a scheduled visit
to South Korea by the chief U.S. negotiator in North Korean nuclear
Sunday's statement also warned that the North would
suspend all scheduled inter-Korean dialogue unless Seoul retracts and
apologizes for the remark by its new top military leader.
Kim Tae-young, chairman of the South's Joint Chiefs of
Staff, told a parliamentary hearing Wednesday that the military would
strike a suspected North Korean nuclear weapons site if Pyongyang attempts
to attack the South with atomic bombs.
His office later said he was talking about a general
military principle dealing with outside threats, not about launching an
unprovoked pre-emptive attack on the North.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said Sunday that it
would decide whether to send a response to the North over its demand for a
retraction in a few days.
The North Korean military commentator reaffirmed that
Pyongyang would ban South Korean officials, including military officers,
from crossing the border.
The statement did not say when the ban would take
effect or how long it would last.
South Korean officials have occasionally traveled
across the two countries' heavily fortified border for talks.
Original article: KVUE
Fair Use Notice