Kim Jong Il 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
North Korea slammed a suggestion in South Korea that Seoul ditch its defensive-only military strategy in response to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons, saying a pre-emptive strike would spark a nuclear war.
North Korea has long accused the South of plotting with the United States to invade the communist nation. The latest rhetoric came in response to a suggestion reportedly made by professors of the South's Air Force Academy at a forum earlier this month that Seoul should draw up a new military strategy to include offensive operations.
One of the two professors served as a policy aide to the South's air force chief of staff, but it was unclear if their suggestion reflected the government's position.
Still, Pyongyang accused South Korea of conspiring with the United States to attack the isolated and impoverished state, an accusation made frequently by the North and routinely denied by the US
"This is an intolerable provocation against (North Korea) and a treacherous crime seeking to act as a shock brigade in executing the US nuclear war against" the North, said Pyongyang's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland in a statement, carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.
"The pre-emptive attack on the North means provocation of a nuclear war," said the committee, in charge of relations with South Korea.
The North's saber rattling comes ahead of a resumption of six-nation talks aimed at dismantling the communist country's nuclear weapons program. North Korea conducted its first-ever nuclear test on October 9, drawing international condemnation and UN Security Council sanctions.
The country agreed early this month to return to those talks with China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US No specific date has been set, but the talks are expected to take place in early December.
Also on Sunday, the North's Minju Joson newspaper accused the South of building up arms in order to attack the country.
"The South Korean military is openly clamoring that the development and introduction of new weapons are to target the North," the paper said, according to KCNA. "Confrontation with fellow countrymen is a suicidal act of digging their own graves. War knows no mercy."
The paper urged the South's military "to turn guns at the US aggressors."
The two Koreas are still technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Their relations improved significantly after the first and only summit of their leaders in 2000.
But the reconciliation process stalled after the North's missile tests in July and the October nuclear test.