|February 19, 2009
Article from: Agence France-Presse
NORTH Korea says it is "fully ready" for war with South Korea, stepping up its rhetoric just hours before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Seoul.
``The Lee Myung-Bak group of traitors should never forget that the Korean People's Army is fully ready for an all-out confrontation,'' a spokesman for the army General Staff in Pyongyang said.
The statement to the North's official Korean Central News Agency was the latest in a series of increasingly strident threats against South Korean President Lee's conservative Government, which have raised cross-border tensions.
South Korean Defence Minister Lee Sang-Hee has said a limited naval clash may break out around the two countries' disputed border in the Yellow Sea.
Mr Lee and other officials also say the North is preparing to test its longest-range missile, which could theoretically reach Alaska. Mr Lee said it could be ready for launch within two or three weeks.
Ms Clinton, who is scheduled to arrive tonight, has said any missile test would be ``very unhelpful'' for US-North Korean relations and has urged Pyongyang to drop its harsh rhetoric.
Last month the North announced it was scrapping all peace accords with the South including a 1991 pact that recognised the sea border as an interim frontier.