[Documents menu] Documents menu

U.S. spoiling for war: N. Korea

AFP, The Hindu, Tuesday 2 July 2002

Seoul JULY 1. North Korea today accused the United States of sending spy planes over its skies more than six times a day in June, saying this showed a U.S. attack was planned.

It defined the air exercises as dangerous plays with fire aimed to perfect its flying corps’ combat skills for starting the ‘second Korean war’ at any cost.

The Communist country said the U.S. had mobilised strategic and tactical reconnaissance planes of various missions for over 190 cases of espionage on its territory in June.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted military sources as saying: All these war manoeuvres clearly prove that the U.S. imperialist hawkish forces are set to stifle the DPRK (North Korea) with a surprise pre-emptive attack.

The accusation comes two days after South and North Korea engaged in a deadly naval skirmish in the western sea. Four South Korean sailors were killed, 19 others were injured and one was missing. South Korea said about 30 North Korean sailors were killed or wounded, but independent confirmation was not possible.

KCNA quoted an unnamed North Korean security officer in the village of Panmunjom ? which saddles the border ? as saying that U.S. soldiers a few days ago threatened to use arms unless North Korean soldiers on routine guard duty withdraw. U.S. military officials in Seoul were not immediately available for comment.

Not only military provocations against the other side but a trifling act of getting on the nerves of soldiers on duty in this area may immediately lead to a military clash, the officer was quoted as saying. The North said our security officers in the area are always fully ready to fire as they are on highest alert.

Panmunjom is located inside the mine-strewn, 4-km-wide demilitarised zone that separates South and North Korea. U.S. and South Korean soldiers guard the southern side of Panmunjom, which is separated by the demarcation line. North Korean soldiers man the northern side.

U.S. spy planes have closely monitored North Korea’s troop movements along the Cold War frontier since the football World Cup tournament began on May 31 in South Korea and Japan.

Some 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea.

KCNA claimed that U.S. fighter bombers, assault planes, refuelling tankers, electronic jamming planes and other planes staged air battle drills on June 19 and 26.