SEOUL, South Korea Unleashing a new verbal attack on Washington a day after a bloody naval clash with South Korea, North Korea accused the United States Sunday of plotting a "preemtive strike" against the communist country.
The North Korean criticism came in response to President Bush's remarks early this month that the United States will strike pre-emptively against suspected terrorists if necessary.
The North, however, did not mention Saturday's naval skirmish with South Korea in which a North Korean navy boat sank a Southern patrol boat in the western sea, killing four of its crew and wounding 19 others. One was missing.
North Korea, along with Iran and Iraq, were labeled by Bush to be part of "an axis of evil" countries with intentions to develop weapons of mass destruction.
Saturday's naval clash was the most serious border clash in recent years. The United States expressed for support for South Korea hours after the 21-minute skirmish.
The Koreas were divided in 1945, and share the world's most heavily armed border. The United States keeps 37,000 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.
© 2002 The Associated Press