North Korea to beef up military might
06/04/2003 10:22 - (SA)

April 6, 2003

Seoul - North Korea accused the United States on Sunday of using UN Security Council discussion of its nuclear programme as a "prelude to war" and warned that it would fully mobilize and beef up its forces.

"The UNSC's handling of the nuclear issue on the peninsula itself is precisely a prelude to war," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement released by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea will not recognize any resolution to be adopted at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, the spokesperson added.

He condemned Security Council discussion of North Korea's nuclear program as "a grave provocative act intended to scuttle all its efforts for dialogue and aggravate the situation on the Korean peninsula.

"If the UNSC is abused for the US hostile policy to stifle the DPRK (North Korea), it will not bear any responsibility for the failure of all the efforts for dialogue and the extremely tense situation but will have no other option but to beef up the deterrent force for war by mobilizing all the potentials," the statement said.

South Korea has stepped up its diplomatic drive to find a negotiated settlement to the nuclear crisis.

The US attack on Iraq, however, has raised tension on the Korean peninsula, with Pyongyang accusing Washington of planning a pre-emptive strike on North Korea after hostilities in the Middle East.

"The Iraqi war shows that to allow disarming through inspection does not help avert a war but rather sparks it. This suggests that even the signing of a non-aggression treaty with the US would not help avert a war," the North Korean spokesperson said.

North Korea fears a US strike on its nuclear facilities. Washington says it intends to resolve the standoff peacefully but has not ruled out the military option.

In an effort to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions, Washington has been pushing the UN to take up the nuclear issue.

The International Atomic Energy Agency referred the nuclear crisis to the UN Security Council on February 12.

But North Korea opposes any UN role, insisting it can only be settled through one-on-one talks with the United States. Washington wants the issue resolved through a multilateral framework.

North Korea has said that any sanctions would be taken as a declaration of war.,6119,2-10-1462_1343813,00.html