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North Korea issues wartime guidelines
Updated: 2005-01-05 20:38

North Korea has ordered its citizens to be ready for a protracted war against the United States, issuing guidelines on evacuating to underground bunkers with weapons, food and portraits of leader Kim Jong Il.

The 33-page "Detailed Wartime Guidelines," published in South Korea's Kyunghyang newspaper on Wednesday and verified by Seoul, was issued April 7, 2004, at a time when the government was claiming it was Washington's next target following the Iraq war.

The manual — the first such North Korean document made public in the outside world — was signed by Kim Jong Il in his capacity as chairman of the Central Military Committee of the ruling Workers' Party. That ended speculation over whether Kim has assumed the top military post following the 1994 death of his father, President Kim Il Sung.

Analysts said the guidelines reflected Pyongyang's fear over a possible U.S. military strike amid stalled talks on its nuclear weapons programs. They said the guidelines were also meant to whip up a sense of crisis among its 22 million people.

"The United States has cooked up suspicion over our nuclear programs and is escalating an offensive of international pressure to strangle and destroy our republic," the booklet said. "If this tactic doesn't work, it plots to use this (nuclear) problem as an excuse for armed invasion."

Kyunghyang did not clarify where it acquired the document classified as "top secret."

Seoul's National Intelligence Service said in a one-sentence statement: "We believe the document reflects North Korea's wartime preparations."

The manual urged the military to build restaurants, wells, restrooms and air purifiers in underground bunkers, which government offices and military units will move into if war breaks out.

North Korea is locked in a dispute with Washington and its allies over its nuclear weapons programs.

"The North has real fear that it may become the next Iraq under the Bush administration," said Kim Tae-woo, a senior fellow at Seoul's Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.

Kim said Washington is building more powerful missiles that could destroy underground military targets.

On Tuesday, North Korea accused the United States of planning to deploy those missiles in South Korea for a "preemptive attack" on the North. Washington says it wants to end the nuclear dispute peacefully.

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