North Korea on Friday commented for the first time on
the US-led invasion of Iraq, saying the conflict would have
The state-run newspaper
Minju Joson is reported to have run an editorial analysing the
possible consequences. There were no further details.
According to reports, Pyongyang
also told its southern neighbour on Friday that Seoul was
playing with fire by heightening security measures to thwart
possible North Korean provocations.
North Korea said in
a message to the South that the security measures could have
irreversible consequences for ties between the two
However, South Korean Defense Minister Cho
Young-Kil denied Friday that the military had heightened its
alert status towards North Korea.
"Despite the outbreak
of the war on Iraq, we have maintained the normal state of
alert, without raising the level of Watchcon or Defcon," Mr
Cho told a parliamentary hearing.
He noted that he did
not rule out North Korean provocation during the Iraq war but
added, "The likelihood of any full-scale armed conflict is
"We are keen to avoid any unintended armed clash
with the army sticking to the rules for engagement and
shunning any acts that could provoke North Korean
South Korea is said to have maintained its
surveillance alert status at Watchon 3, in place since 1999,
and its defensive posture at Defcon 4, which signals normal
South Korean media reports had wrongly
indicated Thursday that Seoul had heightened its military