N. Korea warns war would bring 'nuclear holocaust'

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea welcomed the new year Saturday with a call for better ties with rival South Korea, warning that war "will bring nothing but a nuclear holocaust."
Despite calls in its annual New Year's message for a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons, the communist North, which has conducted two nuclear tests since 2006, also said its military was ready for "prompt, merciless and annihilatory action" against its enemies.
Also Saturday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon vowed to help improve tense relations between South and North Korea. Ban spoke with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak by telephone and said the world body would closely consult with Seoul, Lee's office said in a statement posted on its Web site.