N Korea says wont bow to US

Seoul, March 21 | Updated: Mar 22 2006, 06:00am hrs
North Korea said it was prepared to launch a pre-emptive military strike and it would not bow to US pressure to give up its nuclear weapons, its official media said in separate reports on Tuesday. The North Korean comments come as six-party nuclear talks on ending Pyongyangs pursuit of nuclear weapons have hit a snag over a U.S. crackdown on firms Washington suspects of aiding the North in illicit activities such as counterfeiting and drug trafficking.

In recent days, North Korea has also expressed anger at annual joint US-South Korean military drills.Pyongyang sees them as a prelude to an invasion and nuclear attack. It threatened that its Korean Peoples Army has the right to strike first, if needed.

The KPA, too, has (the) option for pre-emptive attack in most effective and positive defense of itself, the Norths official KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

North Korea made a similar threat last week.The drills will start next week and are designed to help coordinate US and South Korean forces in a joint defense of South Korea.In a separate report carried on KCNA, North Korea called on the United States to find a practical solution to the nuclear standoff.

North Korea signed an agreement in September 2005 with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States to scrap its nuclear programs in exchange for aid, security assurances and greater diplomatic recognition.The US should not insist that we first abandon nuclear weapons. Rather, it would be wise to take the path of cooperation in the field of nuclear matters, KCNA quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying in a report carried on South Koreas Yonhap news agency.

Reuters