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Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Asian nations react to bombings
Muslim protesters, Indonesia
Muslim protests are growing in Indonesia
North Korea has condemned the US-led military action in Afghanistan saying it risked plunging the world into the "holocaust of war".

A foreign ministry spokesman said the government line was against terrorism, but he could not condone the air strikes.

The comments were the latest in a mixed range of reactions from Asia-Pacific countries.


The use of armed forces or a war to kill innocent people ... cannot be justified

North Korean foreign ministry spokesman
Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand are among those who have offered strong backing to the air strikes, including logistical support.

South Korea has offered non-combat troops, including medical teams and transport planes, while Thailand is allowing its airbases to be used for refuelling. Australia has given strong support to the US, and has offered ground troops. Taiwan has offered the use of its airspace to the US-led forces.

Japan is pushing through new laws to allow it to provide non-combat logistical back-up. Under its pacifist constitution it is barred from fighting in international disputes.

Hostility

But North Korea, which has a rocky relationship with the US, on Tuesday voiced strong opposition to the allied action.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Japan has pledged logistical support
"The use of armed forces or a war to kill innocent people and aggravate regional situation and disturb regional stability contrary to the purpose cannot be justified under any circumstances," said a foreign ministry spokesman.

Quoted by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), he added: "We hold that the action of the United States should not be a source of vicious circle of terrorism and retaliation that may plunge the world into the holocaust of war."

He also accused Washington of pursuing "a hostile policy" towards North Korea for keeping it on a list of states accused of sponsoring terrorism.

North Korea condemned the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington as "very regretful and tragic."

Relations under US President George Bush have been tense. When Mr Bush took office in January he suspended all dialogue with North Korea. The US has since said it is ready to resume talks, but North Korea has refused all offers.

Cautious reactions

Malaysia has also refused to give any kind of support to the strikes.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he did not support the attacks because innocent people would be killed and terrorism would not be wiped out.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed
Malaysia has refused to help the allies
Meanwhile Indonesia is cautiously supporting the anti-terror coalition, but is facing small but vocal public hostility towards the air raids.

The government has said it hoped the action would be "limited in nature".

China said it supported action against terrorism provided it was limited to "specific objectives" and avoided civilian casualties.

Vietnam, former enemy of the US, has given unprecedented but guarded backing to the air strikes.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai told reporters that Vietnam was ready to fully cooperate with the US coalition but urged that "the parties concerned limit their operations so as not to prolong the war."

See also:

09 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian Muslim protests turn violent
24 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia denies harbouring terrorists
03 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: Anti-US anger in Indonesia
25 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia clerics threaten jihad
02 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Megawati condemns anti-US 'sweep'
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