July 3, 2006

North Korea vows “annihilating strike” if attacked

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea ratcheted up the rhetoric in
its war of words with Washington by promising an "annihilating
strike" with its nuclear deterrent should the United States
launch an attack, its media said on Monday.

Over the weekend, North Korea said it would bolster its
deterrent in response to a U.S. threat, marking the first time
it has so specifically mentioned the subject since a crisis
began over its suspected plans to test-fire a long-range

"The army and people of the DPRK are now in full
preparedness to answer a pre-emptive attack with a relentless
annihilating strike and a nuclear war with a mighty nuclear
deterrent," its communist party newspaper said on Monday.

DPRK is short for North Korea's official name, the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The report carried on
the KCNA news agency said the U.S. had increased tension by
bringing new spy planes to the peninsula.

North Korea said in February 2005 it possessed nuclear
weapons. It has threatened to build up its nuclear arsenal
several times since then in response to what it perceived as
increased U.S. threats.

U.S. officials have said North Korea is preparing to test a
long-range ballistic missile that some experts say could reach
parts of the United States.