SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea urged its military and people to be ready for a U.S. attack, a South Korean news agency reported Wednesday, quoting a statement from the communist government.
The North’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement late Tuesday accusing the United States of planning massive war games in the Korean Peninsula in preparation to attack North Korea, Yonhap news agency said.
“The United States can launch a pre-emptive attack on us at any time,” the North Korean statement said, according to Yonhap. “This requires our military and people to mobilize all our resources to be fully ready for any contingencies.” The North did not elaborate.
The statement came hours after South Korea’s new president, Roh Moo-hyun, was sworn in Tuesday, calling on North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions in return for help from the international community in rebuilding its moribund economy.
North Korea is in the middle of its annual winter training military exercise.
North Korea fired a short-range, anti-ship missile into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan on Monday, raising tensions in the region already roiled by the nuclear standoff.
During the 1993-94 nuclear crisis in the peninsula, North Korea put its 1.1 million-member military, the world’s fifth largest, on war footing and moved much of its military into underground tunnels.