SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ North Korea disparaged offers of economic aid in return for nuclear concessions as ``misinformation'' Friday and branded upcoming joint U.S.-South Korean war games a ``test nuclear war.''
The United States and other countries have proposed giving economic, food or energy aid to the impoverished, communist North if it freezes its controversial nuclear development programs.
A newspaper commentary decried that as a ``trick.''
``The U.S. is floating misinformation that the DPRK's just measure is aimed at wresting a sort of 'concession' and getting 'economic benefits,''' said the commentary from the North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by the official news agency, KCNA.
``Base and ridiculous is the U.S. trick.''
DPRK, or Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is the official name of North Korea.
``No matter what misinformation the U.S. floats to slander the DPRK, it will not withdraw its principled stance,'' the report said. ``The further the U.S. escalates its military threat and pressures the DPRK, the tougher countermeasures it will take.''
Adding to tensions on the Korean peninsula, North Korea has reactivated a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor at Yongbyon that produces raw materials that could be used for atomic weapons, South Korea said Friday, confirming earlier reports by Japan and the United States.
With the reactivation, disclosed by Seoul officials familiar with Pyongyang's military activities, North Korea could build a bomb in about a year. That announcement, combined with a North Korean missile test, marked a tough first week for Seoul's new government, led by President Roh Moo-Hyun, who took office Tuesday.
In a separate dispatch carried by the North's news agency, Pyongyang also criticized plans for joint war games next month between South Korea and the United States.
Minju Joson, another North Korean paper, called them a ``test nuclear war.'' It discounted Washington's stand that they are annual drills unrelated to the current nuclear standoff as a ``trick to fool the public opinion at home and abroad.''
The U.S. military announced the exercises earlier this month, calling them ``defense-oriented'' and designed to improve the U.S.-South Korea forces' ability to defend South Korea against ``external aggression.''
North Korea has repeatedly condemned the exercises, saying they would increase tensions on the divided Korean peninsula and undermine a fragile reconciliation process with South Korea that includes reunions of separated families and cross-border rail and road links.
One joint exercise _ called ``Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration,'' or RSOI _ will take place March 19-26. A second, called Foal Eagle, is scheduled for March 4-April 2.
``This proves that the U.S. is only keen to provoke a war of aggression against the DPRK, utterly indifferent to solving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula,'' the Minju Joson report, as carried by KCNA, said. ``With nothing can they conceal the criminal nature of the war drills or realize their wild ambition to invade.''
The exercises coincide with a dispute over North Korea's atomic weapons development, which flared in October when the U.S. government said North Korean officials had admitted pursuing a secret nuclear program.
U.S. intelligence claims North already has one or two nuclear weapons as well has missiles that could hit the U.S. West Coast.
Washington and its allies cut off oil shipments in response, and the North then said it would reactivate its frozen nuclear facilities. It also expelled U.N. monitors and withdrew from the global Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.