SEOUL — After a few days of silence, North Korea lashed out Thursday against a host of U.S. military actions in and around South Korea, repeating the claim that the moves are a prelude to invasion.

The North took issue with the recent troop reduction agreement, the deployment of a new U.S. Patriot missile battery to South Korea and the ongoing talks regarding Pyongyang’s missile development plans.

“The troop cut plan is actually a prelude to a second Korean war,” read a commentary by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, a North Korean propaganda group.

Under an agreement reached last week, the United States will withdraw 12,500 troops in a phased reduction on the Korean Peninsula. The 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division — sent to Iraq earlier this year on a one-year tour — makes up the bulk of the 2004 reduction, projected to total 5,000 troops.

U.S. officials have said the move is part of a global realignment of forces and would not reduce the deterrent impact of the U.S. presence in South Korea. U.S. officials repeatedly have characterized their presence on the peninsula as defensive in nature.

Patriot missiles, they point out, are designed to shoot down incoming missiles or aircraft and are essentially a defensive capability. But North Korea took the opposite view, calling the move “proof” that a U.S. invasion plan was in its “last stage.”

“It is a daydream for the United States to think of overwhelming the DPRK with arms as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan,” read a commentary carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“The Korean army and people are fully prepared to destroy any aggressors at one blow. The aggressors pouncing upon us will never be able to go back alive. Then the South Korean bellicose elements who are set on confrontation with fellow countrymen in collusion with the U.S. will be meted out relentless punishment.”

The article promised North Korea’s reaction would be to boost its “war deterrent,” a phrase sometimes used as a euphemism for its nuclear ambitions.

“The United States and the south Korean war-thirsty elements should cool their heads overheated with war fever and promptly stop the adventurous arms buildup against the north that would bring catastrophic consequences,” the article concluded.

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