As war games begin, North Korea issues threat

Choe Sang-hun Published: March 9, 2009

SEOUL: As thousands of U.S. Marines poured into South Korea on Monday to open an annual joint military exercise, North Korea warned that it would attack the United States, Japan and South Korea if they tried to shoot down a satellite it says it plans to launch.

North Korea said the war games in South Korea were in preparation for an invasion of the North and put its 1.1 million-member military on standby for battle. It also cut off a military hot line, the only remaining channel of direct communication between the two Koreas, a move that stranded hundreds of South Korean workers at an industrial park in North Korea.

Amid the belligerent rhetoric, fears were growing in South Korea that the Communist regime in Pyongyang wouldresort to military provocations like a missile launch or a border attackin order to vent anger at the conservative Seoul government – which has stopped free food shipments to the North – and to force Washington to bargain over its missile and nuclear programs.

North Korea has employed such tactics in the past.

With North Korea expected to launch a satellite soon for what it called peaceful forces, its leaders vowed “a just retaliatory strike operation” against any efforts to stop the launch and said it would “mean a war” against the United States, South Korea and Japan.

Read it all. This is certainly NOT good news. The Dear Leader’s elevator has not gone all the way to the top in decades.

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