N.Korea Warns Of Nuclear War Amid Rising Tensions

North Korea's communist regime has warned of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula while vowing to step up its atomic bomb-making program in defiance of new U.N. sanctions.

In a commentary published Saturday and seen in Seoul on Sunday, the state-run Tongil Sinbo weekly claimed the U.S. has been deploying a vast amount of nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan, and that they are ready to be used against the North.

North Korea "is completely within the range of U.S. nuclear attack and the Korean peninsula is becoming an area where the chances of a nuclear war are the highest in the world," the commentary said.

The North's continued defiance presents a new diplomatic headache for President Barack Obama as he prepares for talks Tuesday with his South Korean counterpart on the North's missile and nuclear programs.

Calls to the U.S. military command in Seoul were not answered Sunday.

Also Saturday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry threatened war on any country that dared to stop its ships on the high seas under the new sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council on Friday as punishment for the North's latest nuclear test.

It is not clear if the statements are simply rhetorical. Still, they are a huge setback for international attempts to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions, which received a boost with its second nuclear test on May 25. It first tested a nuclear device in 2006.

In its statement Saturday, North Korea said it has been enriching uranium to provide fuel for its light-water reactor. It was the first public acknowledgment the North is running a secret uranium enrichment program in addition to its known plutonium-based program. The two radioactive materials are key ingredients in making atomic bombs.

North Korea said more than one-third of 8,000 spent fuel rods in its possession has been reprocessed and all the plutonium extracted would be used to make atomic bombs. The country could harvest 13-18 pounds (6-8 kilograms) of plutonium — enough to make at least one nuclear bomb — if all the rods are reprocessed.

In addition, North Korea is believed to have enough plutonium for at least half a dozen atomic bombs.

North Korea says its nuclear program is a deterrent against the U.S., which it routinely accuses of plotting to topple its regime. Washington, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, has repeatedly said it has no such intention.

The new U.N. sanctions are aimed at depriving the North of the financing used to build its rogue nuclear program. The resolution also authorized searches of North Korean ships suspected of transporting illicit ballistic missile and nuclear materials.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the new U.N. penalties provide the necessary tools to help check North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The sanctions show that "North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the capacity to deliver those weapons through missiles is not going to be accepted by the neighbors as well as the greater international community," Clinton said Saturday at a news conference in Canada.

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  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jun 15, 2009 at 06:22 PM
    Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed how much Kim Jong Il resembles one of the Trolls?
  • by pee dee Location: jacksonville on Jun 15, 2009 at 10:09 AM
    Unfortunately, we created this mess. In WWII we signed an agreement with Russia that six months after Germany was defeated, they would help us defeat Japan. That is why we have a North and South Korea. If we had told Russia to just stay out, ALL of Korea would be under Democratic control and we would not have this problem. Hindsight IS 20/20, but this has turned into a huge problem we could have avoided 64 years ago. We took our nuclear weapons out of South Korea. Since the North has failed to live up to their end of the bargain, I think we should put about 20 thermonuclear warheads back into South Korea. THAT would send a very strong message to the North.
  • by CCC Location: Greenville on Jun 15, 2009 at 09:51 AM
    Iran and North Korea both are stepping up their missle/nuclear capabilities while 'the great one' is cutting the missle defense program for the US(one of the first things on his list). Seems as if he is inviting an attack. I've asked myself who in their right, rational mind would take such a risky gamble with the safety of our country, then I remember his Muslim roots and possible bad intentions. Get him the ---- out of The White House. Better yet, get him the ---- out of America!!! DTO!!
  • by Mike Location: Edenton on Jun 15, 2009 at 09:37 AM
    Historically, the Dems have always resorted to "negotiations" and talks while the bad guys get stronger and stronger. It only costs us more lives in the long run.
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on Jun 15, 2009 at 04:21 AM
    Take them out now!
  • by Lonnie Location: Edenton on Jun 14, 2009 at 05:33 PM
    BRING BACK BUSH ! We need a Pres. with some intestional fortitude.
  • by Viet Vet Location: ENC on Jun 14, 2009 at 12:32 PM
    Teddy Roosevelt said to walk softly and carry a big stick. We can have the biggest and best stick in the world, but it's still just a stick if not willing to use it.
  • by Mike Location: Edenton on Jun 14, 2009 at 12:28 PM
    When the U.S. leadership is seen as weak by the maniacs of the world it only makes them bolder.
  • by Clifton Location: Washington on Jun 14, 2009 at 06:48 AM
    You better get out you language books folks and start learning Viet-rainian because we all know that WE as Americans will be forced to learn the "new" language.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jun 14, 2009 at 06:36 AM
    That little blowhard Kim Jong Il has been doing this same stuff for years.If he uses nukes on the Korean Peninsula, some of it will get on North Korea also.
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