North Korea warned Monday that any move to intercept what it calls a satellite launch and what other countries suspect may be a missile test-firing would result in a counterstrike against the countries trying to stop it.
By AP and Kyodo
“We will retaliate (over) any act of intercepting our satellite for peaceful purposes with prompt counterstrikes by the most powerful military means,” the official Korean Central News Agency quoted a spokesman of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army as saying.
If countries such as the United States, Japan or South Korea try to intercept the launch, the North Korean military will carry out “a just retaliatory strike operation not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds” of the countries, it said.
“Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war,” it added.
North Korea earlier announced it is preparing to put a communications satellite into space, but outside observers suspect it may in fact be a test-firing of a long-range ballistic missile.
The United States, Japan and South Korea have said that even if Pyongyang calls the launch a missile test, it would violate existing U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The same North Korean statement said the country’s military will cut off communications with its South Korean counterparts during the U.S.- South Korean exercises for the duration of the exercises beginning Monday.
A separate, more rare statement by the KPA’s Supreme Command was quoted by the KCNA as saying that its soldiers are under orders to be “fully combat-ready” during U.S.-South Korean military exercises beginning Monday.
The North’s armed forces have been ordered to “deal merciless retaliatory blows” should there be any intrusion “into the sky and land and seas of the DPRK even an inch.”
DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.
North Korea has demanded a stop to this month’s U.S.-South Korean exercises, and said earlier it cannot guarantee the security of South Korean civilian airplanes flying through its territorial airspace while they are under way.
A U.S. Navy ship launches ballistic missile defense interceptors like those that could be used to counter North Korea’s long range missile launch….
North Korea Again Issues War Warning
By JAE-SOON CHANG, Associated Press Writer
put its armed forces on standby for war Monday and threatened retaliation against anyone seeking to stop the regime from launching a satellite into space in the latest barrage of threats from the communist regime.
Pyongyang also cut off a military hot line with the South, causing a complete shutdown of their border and stranding hundreds ofstaying at an industrial zone in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.
The warning came as U.S. and South Korean troops kicked off their annual war games across the South, exercises the North has condemned as preparation for an invasion. Pyongyang last week threatened South Korean passenger planes flying near its airspace during the drills.
Analysts say the regime is trying to grab President Barack Obama‘s attention as his administration formulates its North Korea policy.