North Korea yesterday attacked US plans to spend billions on defense enhancements on the Korean peninsula, charging Washington was preparing for a pre-emptive strike against the communist nation.
In an editorial in the government mouthpiece Minju Joson, the isolated Stalinist state called the US arms build-up part of "preparations for a pre-emptive attack" on the North.
The US last week announced an US$11 billion plan over four years to boost the war capability of the US and South Korea, and has already this year deployed 24 long-range B-52 and B-1 bombers to the western Pacific island of Guam to bring them within striking range of North Korea in case of hostilities.
Six F-117A Stealth fighter-bombers have also been deployed in South Korea since March.
Paul Wolfowitz, the number two at the US Defense Department, said in Tokyo last week that Washington would reposition US troops to take them out of range of North Korean artillery.
"The US imperialists have already worked out a scenario for a pre-emptive attack in a bid to implement their war strategy against the DPRK [North Korea]," the daily said.
Among the 150 "enhancements to the combined defense" cited this week by General Leon Laporte, the US commander in South Korea, were Patriot missile defenses to protect South Korea against North Korea's estimated 600 Scud missiles.
A light-armored Stryker brigade that could be rapidly airlifted by C-17s to reinforce the Korean peninsula in a crisis and high-speed vessels that could swiftly ferry Marine reinforcements from Okinawa were also mentioned.
North Korea called the Stryker brigade an elite force tasked to mount a surprise attack on the North and said deploying such a force "would mean a completion of the US imperialists' preparations for a war of aggression against the DPRK and this would increase the danger of a war in the DPRK."
"The DPRK maintains a full combat readiness to cope with the US imperialists' moves of aggression. It will strongly retaliate against them should they ignite a new war," Minju Joson said.
Tensions sparked by North Korea's admission in October last year that it was pursuing a nuclear program despite a 1994 accord to freeze it has prompted a build-up in the US military presence on the Korean peninsula.
Most of the 37,000 troops deployed along the tense inter-Korean border will be moved to "hub" bases south of the Han River, beyond the range of North Korean military, marking one of the biggest realignments of forces since the Korean War.
"We have now drawn up a broad picture on how to redeploy US bases here," said Lieutenant-General Cha Young-koo of South Korea, though a timetable for their redeployment had yet to be firmed.
South Korea had opposed the redeployment of the US forces south of the Han River as they have served as a trip wire near the border since the end of the 1950 to 1953 Korean War to ensure an invasion from the North would immediately draw the US into the conflict.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete