Obama, Lee warn North Korea; missile on the move...
N. Korea warns U.S. of military retaliation
By Hyung-Jin Kim
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea warned Wednesday of a "thousand-fold" military retaliation against the U.S. and its allies if provoked, the latest threat in a drumbeat of rhetoric in defense of its rogue nuclear program.
Japanese and South Korean news reports said North Korea is preparing an additional site for test-firing a long-range missile that experts say could be capable of striking the United States. Russia's deputy defense minister reportedly said it would shoot down any missile headed its way.
The warning of a military strike, carried by the North's state media, came hours after President Barack Obama declared North Korea a "grave threat" to the world and pledged that recent U.N. sanctions on the communist regime will be aggressively enforced.
Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met in Washington Tuesday for a landmark summit in which the two leaders agreed to build a regional and global "strategic alliance" to persuade North Korea to dismantle all its nuclear weapons.
Pyongyang claims its nuclear bombs are a deterrent against the United States and accuses Washington of plotting with Seoul to topple its secretive regime -- led by the unpredictable dictator Kim Jong Il who is reportedly preparing to hand over power to his 26-year-old youngest son.
"If the U.S. and its followers infringe upon our republic's sovereignty even a bit, our military and people will launch a one hundred- or one thousand-fold retaliation with merciless military strike," the government-run Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary.
The commentary, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, also called Obama "a hypocrite" for advocating a nuclear-free world while making "frantic efforts" to develop new nuclear weapons at home.
"The nuclear program is not the monopoly of the U.S.," it said.
The report did not mention the Obama-Lee summit.
Attention has been focused on North Korea since it conducted a nuclear test, its second, on May 25 in defiance of the United Nations. The U.N. Security Council responded by toughening an arms embargo, authorizing ship searches for nuclear and ballistic missile cargo and depriving the regime of the financing used to build its nuclear program.
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