N Korea slams US-led air strike on Libya

The North's foreign ministry spokesman called the air assault "a hideous crime against humanity" and a "gross breach of the dignity" of Libyans, in an interview with the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

"Such war action can never be justified and should be halted at once," the spokesman said.
Operation Odyssey Dawn led by US, French and British troops, aims to stop Moamer Kadhafi's forces harming civilians involved in a month-long uprising.

But the assault on Libya teaches "a serious lesson" that the communist North needs "strong self-defence" to guard against potential attacks, the spokesman said.

Pyongyang's "path of Songgun (military-first)" was a "very valuable deterrent for averting a war," he added.

Experts say the isolated nation has stepped up its campaign to block information on pro-democracy protests in the Arab World, fearing they could spark similar disturbances among its own people.

The North tightly controls access to the Internet and attempts to block other sources of information about the outside world, though DVDs and mobile phones smuggled from China have been eroding barriers.

Pyongyang and Tripoli have maintained close diplomatic ties, with Kadhafi described in the North as a "revolutionary comrade" of leader Kim Jong-Il, according to defectors from the North.

The North has developed nuclear weapons and launched ballistic missiles that could potentially reach Alaska in what it called an effort to defend itself from enemies.

Pyongyang heightened regional security fears in November by disclosing an apparently operational uranium enrichment plant, which experts said can be reconfigured to produce atomic weapons.

The North in the same month shelled a South Korean island near the tense sea border.

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