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First created :
21 March 2003 1706 hrs (SST) 0906 hrs (GMT)
Last modified :
21 March 2003 1706 hrs (SST) 0906 hrs (GMT)

N.Korea predicts disaster for Iraq war; S.Korea denies raising defensive 

North Korea on Friday commented for the first time on the US-led invasion of Iraq, saying the conflict would have "disastrous consequences".

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 countries.

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 slim."

"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 troops."

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 readiness.

South Korean media reports had wrongly indicated Thursday that Seoul had heightened its military alert.

Showdown in Iraq - Channelnewsasia.com's special coverage

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