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N. Korean general says Pyongyang has nuke-tipped ICBMs on standby
SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean general said Thursday that the country has placed long-range missiles armed with nuclear warheads on standby, as Pyongyang said it will not bow to the United Nations resolution condemning its latest atomic weapons test.

   According to the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), Colonel General Kang Pyo-yong said soldiers are already positioned to launch a war of reunification if the order is given by its leaders. The paper said the general made clear at a speech given at a rally in Pyongyang that intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and other rockets capable of attacking pre-set targets have been armed with various types of atomic warheads.

   He claimed that missile warheads have been made lighter and smaller, and can turn Washington and other lairs of forces that collaborate with the U.S. imperialists into a "sea of fire".

   The North claimed right after the Feb. 12 nuclear test that it had succeeded in making a lighter and smaller atomic device, that experts say is critical if Pyongyang wants to place such weapons on missiles. Pyongyang successfully launched the Unha-3 long-range rocket in December, which has a range of more than 11,000 kilometers.

   Kang also said that with the Korean War Armistice Agreement having become null and void, the North Korean military can now launch preemptive strikes against the country's enemies without warning or restraint.

   He stressed that any attack launched will be merciless and destructive.

   The comments by the three-star general come hours after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution condemning the latest nuclear test and slapped fresh sanctions on the isolationist country for defying the wishes of the international community.

   Pyongyang earlier in the day said it will cut off the emergency hotline linking the two Koreas and declared that it will no longer abide by the non-aggression packs signed with South Korea in the past.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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