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NK Blasts Defense Minister`s `Preemptive Attack` Comment

NK Blasts Defense Minister`s `Preemptive Attack` Comment

Posted January. 25, 2010 08:52,   


North Korea yesterday blasted the South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young for saying a preemptive strike is the only option should North Korea prepare a nuclear attack.

In a spokesman’s statement yesterday, the general command of the North Korean People’s Army condemned Kim’s comment made last week.

According to the (North) Korean Central News Agency, the statement said, “Our revolutionary forces will consider the comment ‘preemptive strike’ suggested by South Korean authorities as a national plan as an open declaration of war.”

This is the first time in nine months that the North Korean People’s Army spokesman has verbally attacked the South. On April 18 last year, it made the implicit threat “Seoul is 50 kilometers from the military demarcation line.”

A spokesman for North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland also issued Saturday a statement criticizing Kim’s comment and the Korea Institute for National Unification of South Korea’s report on “preparation for an urgent shift in the North Korean situation.”

The committee’s statement said, “The very fact that a belligerent leader and war maniac of puppet military forces has openly declared a preemptive strike against us, and that authorities and national think tanks are releasing plans on attacks against us under the presumption of ‘urgent shift of situation’ constitute a declaration of war.”

The committee collectively labeled Kim, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, National Intelligence Service Director Won Se-hoon and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hwan as “four adversaries in the Year of the Tiger.”

Seoul plans to ask Pyongyang to postpone until Feb. 1 working-level military talks on inter-Korean travel, communications and customs clearance that the North proposed holding this week, as well as discussion that had been scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday on resuming South Korean tours to Mount Kumgang and Kaesong.

kyle@donga.com mhpark@donga.com