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North Korea Urges Citizens to Resist What It Calls 'US Aggression' - 2003-02-01


North Korea continues its war of words with a new campaign urging its citizens to resist what it calls U.S. aggression. This comes after reports that Pyongyang may be moving spent nuclear fuel rods, and that the United States may increase its military in Asia. North Korean state media say new posters, poems and songs are encouraging its people to "annihilate the enemies."

Official broadcasts and news reports monitored Saturday in South Korea say the new campaign aims to prepare the country to resist what Pyongyang calls U.S. aggression.

The verbal assault follows news that the United States has spotted sings that North Korea is moving spent nuclear fuel rods. The rods can be reprocessed to make nuclear weapons.

News reports Saturday say the commander of the U.S. military in the Pacific has asked for more troops, aircraft and ships in response to the crisis over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Several U.S. news media report the Pentagon is considering a request to move about two-thousand troops to South Korea, adding to the 37,000 U.S. troops already there. In addition, the reports say, the Pacific command has asked that B-1 and B-52 bombers, and F-15 fighter-bombers be sent to the region.

The United States has about 100,000 troops in the Asia-Pacific region, nearly half of them in Japan. South Korea has about 700,000 troops in uniform. North Korea has an army of about 1.1 million people and is capable of bombarding the South Korean capital Seoul with tens of thousands of artillery shells an hour.

Last October, the United States said North Korea had admitted having a secret program to develop nuclear weapons, in violation of an agreement it signed with Washington in 1994.

In the past few months, Pyongyang has withdrawn from the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, kicked out international nuclear monitors, and has moved to reactivate an idled nuclear reactor. North Korea demands that Washington sign a non-aggression pact.

Washington and its allies have cut off fuel aid to the impoverished North. The United States says Pyongyang must abandon its nuclear program before there can be talks on other issues.

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