North Korea Warns of Nuclear Retaliation

DPRK (RPRN) 6/25/2009–North Korean state media have condemned a recent U.S. pledge to provide nuclear defense to South Korea, saying the move bolsters Pyongyang’s reasons for having atomic bombs. A report in Thursday’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper also warns that such a move invites what it called a potential fire shower of nuclear retaliation.

Never give up

The report says that a new war could break out at any time. It also says Pyongyang would never give up its nuclear deterrent as long as the U.S. continued what it called its hostile policy.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak held a summit in Washington last week. During that meeting, Washington reaffirmed its commitment to provide South Korea with a “nuclear umbrella.”

Tensions on the Korean peninsula and throughout the region have increased since Pyongyang’s carried out is second underground nuclear test last month, as well as several missile launches.

UN sanctions

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution imposing new sanctions on the North, including authorizing U.N. members to track and inspect North Korean cargo ships for illicit missile-related technology.

A U.S. Navy destroyer off the Chinese coast is tracking a North Korean ship suspected of smuggling missiles or related parts in violation of the sanctions. Reports citing unidentified intelligence sources in South Korea say the vessel, the Kang Nam, appears to be heading to Burma by way of Singapore.

The U.S. military has not indicated any plans to search the vessel, which belongs to a fleet of ships that U.S. officials say have been used in the past to transport weapons.

A U.S. Department of Defense spokesman said Wednesday that a decision on whether to contact the vessel or not will likely be made together with other countries.

North Korea has said it would consider inspections of its ships an act of war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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