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Friday, March 13, 2009

N. Korea threatens war if missile intercepted; U.S. Aegis destroyers on guard

The United States has deployed seven Aegis destroyers capable of intercepting missiles as part of its joint military drills with South Korea that started on March 9, according to military sources cited in the upcoming edition of   

North Korea's military has warned that it would retaliate against any U.S. or Japanese attempt to intercept a satellite it says it is preparing to launch, saying such an attempt would spark a war.

In a strongly worded statement, the General Staff of the People's Army vowed to mobilize "the most powerful military means" to attack any countries trying to shoot down its rocket.

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The threat was in response to reports that Japan was considering shooting down any North Korean missile if it approached its territory.

"We will retaliate [against] any act of intercepting our satellite for peaceful purposes with prompt counterstrikes by the most powerful military means," said the statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," it said. The retaliation would be aimed "not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds of the U.S. and Japanese aggressors and the South Korean puppets who hatched plots to intercept it," the statement said.

North Korea has said it is preparing to launch what it claims is a satellite for space development. But the United States and South Korea believe the test is consistent with the development of long-range ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads capable of hitting U.S. territory.

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