warns U.S., Japan of 'nuclear sea of fire'
North Korea warns U.S., Japan of 'nuclear
sea of fire'
Friday, September 24, 2004
By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
SEOUL, South Korea -- In an unusually
explicit threat to its neighbor yesterday, North Korea warned that Japan would
be immersed in a "nuclear sea of fire" if the United States
were to attack the North.
The threat came as Japanese and South Korean
government officials expressed fears that North Korea was
preparing to test a ballistic missile. Intelligence satellites
have detected unusual movements of vehicles and personnel
massing around missile bases on the east coast, South Korean
and Japanese officials reported. South Korea yesterday said it
believed that the movements were connected with annual military
games taking place near the missile bases.
U. S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
told reporters yesterday that a missile test "would be a very
Japan reportedly dispatched surveillance
aircraft and a destroyer ship equipped with an Aegis weapons
system, which allows it to track and destroy multiple aircraft
Bellicose language from Pyongyang is usually
dismissed as rhetoric, but this threat seems certain to inflame
the United States ignites a nuclear war in this part of the
world, then U. S. bases in Japan would serve as a detonating
fuse that would plunge Japan into a nuclear sea of
fire," North Korea's paper, Rodong Sinmun, said in a
commentary carried by the KCNA news agency. "If it wants to
maintain peace and live safely, Japan should not become an
appendage of the war strategy of American imperialism."
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi,
who has made two trips to Pyongyang since 2002 in an effort to
rebuild relations, downplayed the tensions with North Korea.
After returning from New York at the end of an
11-day foreign trip, Koizumi told reporters
there was a low probability that the North Koreans would launch
North Korea continues to balk at joining
another round of six-nation talks on its nuclear program.
"Pyongyang apparently wants to wait for the outcome of the U.
S. presidential election in November," Japan's Chief Cabinet
Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said.