N. Korea Warns Japan of War
Feb. 02, 1999
TOKYO (AP) _ North Korean state-run media on Monday accused Japan of bringing the two nations to the brink of war by pressing ahead with plans to build spy satellites and a missile defense system.
The militant tone of the North Korean statement was similar to the rhetoric it has used repeatedly in references to Japan, South Korea and the United States.
``North Korean-Japanese relations have deteriorated, and if this leads to a military confrontation, Japan itself will be the one destroyed,'' the government's Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee was quoted as saying on North Korean Central Radio, monitored by Japan's Radio Press in Tokyo.
The saber-rattling by North Korea comes as politicians in Tokyo call for new military spending in response to North Korea's launching of a ballistic missile last August that crossed over northern Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean.
Japan's defense minister said last month his country will take quick steps to boost surveillance of the reclusive nation.
Japan is considering building a network of spy satellites and joining with the United States in the development of the Theater Missile Defense antiballistic missile system.
``Japanese reactionaries ... are using the `missile threat' as an excuse to arm their country with nuclear weapons, turn it into a military power and complete preparations for war,'' the Communist Party-run Rodong newspaper said in an editorial Monday.
``What they really want is to achieve their ambition of re-invading'' Korea, the editorial said. Japan colonized the Korean peninsula from 1910-45.
Last month, U.S. and North Korean officials held talks in Geneva about inspecting an underground site Washington suspects may be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Washington demanded unconditional inspections of the North's underground project. But North Korea asked the United States to pay $300 million to inspect the site.