North Korea Says It Is In 'Full
Combat Preparedness' For US

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea accused the United States on Sunday of planning to attack the communist state after the war in Afghanistan and said it would deal "unimaginably telling blows" to U.S. troops.
"The U.S. designation of the DPRK as the target of the post- Afghanistan war operation compels the Korean people to be in full combat preparedness to lay down their lives for the country," said the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.
"The DPRK is not Afghanistan. The DPRK is ready for defence and attack," it said. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
A South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman said he was unable to comment on whether any unusual troop movements had been detected in North Korea. He said he was unaware of Sunday's commentary, carried on North's Korea Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korea's state media has ratcheted up anti-American propaganda in recent weeks, criticising the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism and threatening to build up its military to counter what it alleges are U.S. threats.
The poor but heavily armed communist state has taken particular umbrage at U.S. calls for inspections to hunt for suspected weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical arms.
The Rodong Sinmun said U.S. calls for talks with North Korea were a "peace hoax" and repeated Pyongyang's recent accusation that the United States was using its anti-terrorism campaign to prepare to attack the North.
"The U.S. deployment of more task forces in South Korea on the plea of filling up 'vacuum of combat power' was designed to conduct an operation in the wake of the war in Afghanistan," it said.
Washington has moved fighters into South Korea to replace forces shifted to areas near Afghanistan. The United States has 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea to prevent a repeat of the North Korean invasion that sparked the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea frequently uses bluster and threats as a tool to extract concessions from South Korea or get the attention of the South's ally, the United States, analysts say.
Sunday's commentary blamed the United States for delays in the construction of nuclear reactors promised under the 1994 Agreed Framework pact, which froze the North Korea's suspected nuclear weapons programme.
The $4.6 billion deal requires Western countries and South Korea to build two light-water reactors that make it more difficult to extract weapons grade plutonium.
The Agreed Framework also obliges North Korea to open its atomic facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, before critical reactor equipment is installed.
North, which remains technically at war with South Korea because they failed to sign a peace treaty at the end of the Korean conflict, has not started cooperating with IAEA inspections, raising concern in Washington and Seoul.
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