NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 57 (June 4, 2009) |
*** NEW IN BRIEF (Part 2)
N. Korean Newspapers Stress Tense Situation on Peninsula
SEOUL (Yonhap) - North Korea's state newspapers said on May 28 that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is so tense that any accidental clash may grow into a nuclear war.
Tensions have been growing on the peninsula as North Korea reportedly prepares to test-fire a barrage of missiles from its east and west coasts following its second underground nuclear test last week and the U.N. Security Council is considering additional measures to punish the North for its nuclear test.
"A tough-and-go tense situation is being created on the peninsula," Minju Joson, the organ of North Korea's Cabinet, said. "Any minor accidental clash may be spread into a nuclear war," it claimed in a commentary carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
The newspaper cited U.N. sanctions imposed against the North for its April 5 rocket launch and Seoul's full participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). The U.S.-led PSI is aimed at seizing ships and planes suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.
"Our military and people cannot sit idle and just watch the grave situation," the North said. "There is no other way out but to strengthen self-defensive war deterrent in order to prevent the war maniacs' scheme to provoke a new war and defend peace on the Korean Peninsula," it said, apparently referring to the country's nuclear programs.
On the same day, Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers' Party, called the U.S. military's drill in April to evacuate non-combatants, including families of its servicemen, to cope with contingencies on the peninsula "a prelude of a war."
"The above-said drill of non-combatants is a dangerous development that can be seen only on the eve of a war," the daily said.
But the U.S. troops in Korea say the Non-combatants Escape Operation is part of their regular drills to cope with war or natural disaster on the peninsula.
"It is the fixed will of the army and the people of the DPRK (North Korea) to wipe out the warmongers with a barrage of fire of the Songun (military-first) army," the newspaper said.
N.K. Warns Entire Japanese Territory Is Within Reach of Strike
SEOUL (Yonhap) - North Korea warned on May 29 that the entire territory of Japan would be within its reach of a strike if Japan makes an air raid on missile bases in the socialist state.
There are rising demands among Japanese conservatives to make pre-emptive strikes to destroy "enemy bases" such as missile launching sites in North Korea, according to Japanese newspapers, after Pyongyang conducted a long-range missile and a nuclear test.
Criticizing the scenario as a "wild ambition for reinvasion," Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers' Party, said North Korea is in full military readiness to launch retaliatory strikes in case Japan starts a war.
"The DPRK's (North Korea's) revolutionary armed forces have means and muscle strong enough to decisively frustrate any provocation of the hostile forces," the daily said, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"In case Japan starts a war of reinvasion, its whole territory will not be safe from retaliatory strikes as it does not have depth," the KCNA stressed.
N.K. Brushes off Criticism of Nuke Test Timing in Light of Roh's Death
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on May 30 downplayed criticism of the timing of its second nuclear test, which came shortly after the death of former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, suggesting that the test was pre-scheduled and that the timing was unrelated to the mourning period for the late former leader.
Uriminzokkiri, an official Web site of North Korea, said the nuclear test "was irrelevant to the political climate of the South and especially the recent tragedy" and added that Pyongyang is also grieving because of the death of Roh, saying the two nations are of the "same blood."
The timing of the North's second nuclear test on May 25 was unexpected for the South, as the entire nation was mourning the loss of a former president. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il sent a message of condolences to Roh's family just a few hours before the North reported the nuclear test.
Roh, driven by humiliating bribery allegations involving his family and friends, took his life by leaping from a cliff above his rural residence some 450 km southeast of Seoul.
In response to sharp criticism by South Korean lawmakers of the ruling Grand National Party, the Web site said that lawmakers were "picking a fight with wicked intentions" instead of expressing gratitude for North Korea's condolences.
Relations between South and North Korea, which have been going downhill since the inauguration of the conservative President Lee Myung-bak government in Seoul, further slipped after the North conducted its second nuclear while launching several rounds of short-range missiles during the week.
N.K. Blasts Obama's 'Hostile' Media Policy, Vows Stronger Nuke Deterrence
SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea on June 1 blasted U.S. President Barack Obama for increasing funding for radio stations which broadcast into the North, and vowed to bolster its nuclear deterrence in the face of such "propaganda."
Obama submitted his budget request for fiscal year 2010 last month, calling for expanded funding for state-run broadcasters Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, both of which send Korean-language radio streams into the reclusive socialist state and in other languages throughout the region.
"This is proof that the hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea remains unchanged, despite the new administration," Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said.
The report denounced the two radio stations as "propaganda" advocating the "decadent bourgeois life style" of the U.S. to the North and other Asian countries.
"It is a miscalculation if the U.S. thinks it can eliminate the ideology and bring down the system chosen by our people through dissemination of its 'freedom' and 'democracy,'" the report said.
The report also criticized Obama for spearheading the U.N. Security Council's condemnation on the country's April rocket launch and for "enticing" the South Korean government into joining a U.S.-led naval campaign aimed at stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction -- the Proliferation Security Initiative.
The report did not mention Obama's denouncement of the North's second nuclear test on May 25.
"It is clear that no matter who is president in the U.S. there is never any change to its hostile policy towards us," the report said. "As we have said before, we will further bolster our nuclear deterrence so as to protect our ideology and system."