Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA SEEKS TO EASE NORTH KOREA FEARS OF US STRIKE," reported that ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun tried to ease DPRK fears of a pre-emptive attack as the US-led war on Iraq raised tensions on the Korean peninsula. The DPRK condemned the US-led military action Monday as a "war against humanity" while the ROK has pledged support for the war effort. Fearing it could be the US' next target, the DPRK is now reportedly preparing for war and threatening to sever ties with the ROK. Over the weekend, the DPRK rounded on the ROK for stoking confrontation with the North, a charge analysts link to anger at the ROK's backing of the US. The DPRK suspended planned economic talks with the ROK scheduled for Wednesday, effectively freezing work on a joint project to build an industrial zone in the DPRK. Analysts say ministerial level talks set for next month may be called off. President Roh, an advocate of engagement with the DPRK, on Monday tried to calm tension by dismissing speculation that the DPRK could be the next US target after Iraq. "The president is concerned about incorrect and groundless reports that the United States could attack North Korea after the war in Iraq is over," Roh's spokeswoman Song Kyung-hee told a news conference.


People's Daily (Zhao Jiaming, "DPRK: US AIMS AT A SECOND KOREAN WAR," Pyongyang, 03/23/03, P4) reported that DPRK's Rodong Sinmun on March 22 carried a long commentary article stressing that US's strategic goal lies in launching an aggressive war on DPRK with the excuse of DPRK's nuclear issue. The second nuclear crisis raised by US is leading to the brink of war, which rendered the Korean Peninsula onto a crossroad of war and peace, the article said. DPRK and US had better conclude a non-aggressive treaty with equity and trust as its basis, through which to resolve the nuclear
crisis. The article stressed that such treaty has but one aim of preventing the possible second Korean War, and not for others. It is DPRK's firm stance to deal kindness with kindness, and counter toughness with toughness. The article also warned that if US cannot accept DPRK's suggestion and continue to press DPRK, there will inevitably be military conflicts and even a nuclear war, said the article according to the report.

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