- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

SEOUL (Agence France-Presse) North Korea accused U.S. intelligence yesterday of staging a secret drill for a surprise attack on its nuclear facility and warned that an attack would trigger "horrifying nuclear disasters."
Rodong Sinmun, the North's ruling Workers Party newspaper, said the United States was pushing ahead with "actual military actions that came in accordance with the second Korean war scenario of aggression."
"What merits a serious attention is that a special operation group of the CIA staged a secret drill to make a surprise attack on the nuclear facility of [North Korea] and destroy it," it said.
"The U.S. projected attack on the nuclear facility of [North Korea] presupposes a nuclear war."
Tensions along the world's last remaining Cold War frontier escalated last week after Washington's announcement that Pyongyang had restarted a 5-megawatt reactor capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.
Rodong said its armed forces were ready to "mercilessly wipe out" a war of aggression.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said yesterday that the South Korean government had dismissed talk of a U.S. plan to attack North Korea as "not true".
"The U.S. side told us that the talk of launching a pre-emptive strike against the North is not true," an unnamed government official here was quoted as saying.
In a speech Saturday, new South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun warned of "horrible consequences" unless the nuclear standoff is resolved peacefully.
The United States and North Korea have been at odds since October, when the North admitted running a separate nuclear program, based on enriched uranium.
Washington responded by cutting off shipments of fuel oil that were part of a 1994 deal for the North to abandon efforts to make nuclear weapons.
Fears center on the 8,000 spent fuel rods stored at Yongbyon, its main nuclear site north of Pyongyang, as reprocessing them could yield enough plutonium for half a dozen bombs.

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