Go to contents

U.S. Confirms Ability to Strike Back Iraq and N. Korea Simultaneously

U.S. Confirms Ability to Strike Back Iraq and N. Korea Simultaneously

Posted February. 06, 2003 22:27,   


North Korea`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said earlier, "We are reactivating and normalizing the operation of our nuclear facilities." In response, the United States opined on Wednesday that if operation of the faculties was truly resumed, the world should consider this very seriously.

The Bush administration, however, did not make its official judgment on the validity of the alleged operation of the nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, North Korea. "North Korea seemingly intends to blackmail the United States into resuming talks with it," analyzed major US newspapers.

In a press conference held also on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that if that was really happening now, North Korea would soon equip itself with the ability to produce more nuclear materials for production of warheads. He warned that the world should consider the current development seriously.

Rumsfeld testified before the House Armed Services Committee that the United States could conduct wars in more than two regions at the same time. His testimony was an answer to the question whether the United States could counter any military invasion of North Korea during a war on Iraq.

On Tuesday, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations that Secretary Rumsfeld is considering moving part of the US forces stationed in South Korea away from Seoul, reported USA Today on January 5th. The paper reported that stationing US solders in Seoul angers nationalistic South Koreans more and more. In addition, the newspaper said, when a war breaks out, the solders are vulnerable to North Korea`s bombardment.

In the meanwhile, North Korea`s Foreign Ministry Deputy Director Ri Pyong-gap said in an interview with BBC, "North Korea may strike first if the US builds up troops in the region."

Mr Ri said his government was becoming increasingly alarmed at signs that Washington planned to send more aircraft carriers, bombers and troops to the region. He said such actions would mean that the US was either planning to invade the North or launch attacks against it. In response, he insisted, Pyongyang would not just sit and wait and could decide to strike first if necessary.

North Korea`s Foreign Ministry spokesperson accused the United States of blackmailing on Wednesday in an interview with North Korea`s central news agency. He said, "We are reactivating and normalizing operation of our nuclear facilities just to produce electricity. But, the United States is threatening the international community against us. It is anther act of provocation."

On the other hand, a senior South Korean official said yesterday, "It has not been confirmed whether North Korea has in fact reactivated its 5MW nuclear reactor or not. North Korea`s announcement indicates it would reactivate it, rather than it has reactivated."

maypole@donga.com sechepa@donga.com