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North Korea Criticizes South Korea

May 6, 2000

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Communist North Korea on Saturday accused Japan and South Korea of planning to involve Japanese forces in a war on the Korean Peninsula.

``In their attempt to legalize the deployment on the Korean peninsula of the aggressive forces of Japanese militarism, the South Korean puppet government and Japanese reactionaries are acting with increasing impudence and folly,″ Pyongyang’s Korean Central Radio said Saturday.

The broadcast was monitored by Tokyo’s Radio Press.

The North Korean invective was apparently in response to talks in Seoul Tuesday between South Korean Prime Minister Park Tae-joon and Taku Yamasaki, a former Construction Minister who until recently was policy chief for Japan’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper on Wednesday quoted Yamasaki as saying that Japan should be able to participate in self-defense actions in the territory of an ally if so requested. Park ``showed understanding″ for Yamasaki’s views, the Yomiuri said.

Sending Japanese troops to South Korea is a sensitive issue because of lingering resentment over Japan’s harsh 35-year-colonial rule of Korea until its World War II defeat in 1945. Both South and North Korea remain wary of any moves seen as Japanese attempts to increase its military role in the region.

Officials at the South Korean prime minister’s office were not available late Saturday to confirm Park’s reported comments.

Unconfirmed South Korean news reports have said Japan has an emergency plan to use military transport planes and navy vessels to evacuate 17,000 Japanese from South Korea in the even of war on the divided Korean Peninsula.

Update hourly