North Korea threatens nuclear `holy war` if attacked

North Korea would answer any attack with a nuclear "holy war", says an envoy.

Beijing: North Korea would answer any attack on it with a nuclear "holy war”, the country`s ambassador to Cuba said, according to official Chinese media, while the North`s leader Kim Jong-il appeared to be visiting China.

The ambassador Kwon Sung-chol made the remarks on Friday at a ceremony marking 50 years of diplomatic ties between North Korea and Cuba, the same day that Pyongyang said it was open to returning to nuclear disarmament negotiations.

"If Washington and Seoul try to create a conflict on the Korean peninsula, we will respond with a holy war on the basis of our nuclear deterrent forces," Kwon said, according to China`s Xinhua news agency on Saturday, in a story datelined Havana.

"Our government will strive for the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace as the beginning of the reunification process of the two Koreas," said Kwon.

Washington and Seoul have said Pyongyang must abandon its nuclear weapons development, but have not threatened to attack the poor and isolated North.

North Korea`s number two leader, Kim Yong-nam, told visiting former American president Jimmy Carter that the reclusive state wanted to resume six-way nuclear disarmament talks, the North`s state news agency said on Friday.

The North`s leader, Kim Jong-il, appears to be visiting China in a secrecy-shrouded trip that analysts say appears intended to line up Beijing behind his succession plans.

Bureau Report

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