N. Korea to scrap pact preventing clash with Seoul

2010-05-27 08:44

North Korea announced today that it will scrap an accord aimed at

preventing accidental naval clashes with neighbours South Korea in retaliation

for Seoul blaming Pyongyang for a torpedo attack that sank a South Korean

warship.

Tension on the divided peninsula has risen dramatically since a

team of international investigators announced last week that a torpedo fired by

a North Korean submarine tore apart and sank a South Korean warship on March 26,

killing 46 sailors.

North Korea has denied its involvement in the sinking and warned

any retaliation would mean war.

On Thursday, North Korea’s military said it will

“completely nullify” an inter-Korean accord aimed at preventing accidental armed

skirmishes along the disputed western sea border – a scene of three bloody

maritime battles between the two nations.

“Immediate physical strikes will be launched” against any South

Korean ships that intrude into North Korean waters, the country’s military said

in a statement, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

It said it will also start a review to possibly ban South Korean

personnel and vehicles from entering a joint industrial park in the North Korean

border town of Kaesong – the last remaining major inter-Korean reconciliation

project. It gave no timeframe, however.

The announcement came hours after a fleet of South Korean warships

staged a large-scale anti-submarine drill off the west coast despite North

Korea’s warnings that such exercises will drive the peninsula to the brink of

war.

The two countries are still technically at war because their

1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The US stations

28?500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War.

South Korean and US troops are on their highest alert since North

Korea’s second nuclear test in May last year, reports said.

The mass-circulation

JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, citing an unidentified Seoul official, reported today

that the South Korean-US combined forces command raised their surveillance level

called Watch Condition, up a level from three to two. Level One is the

highest.

South Korea, backed by the US, Japan and other allies, has begun

carrying out punitive measures that range from slashing trade and resuming

propaganda warfare to barring the North’s cargo ships – the strongest it can

implement short of military action.

North Korea quickly responded by threatening to cut ties with South

Korea, wage “all-out counterattacks” against psychological warfare operations

and bar South Korean ships and airliners from its waters and airspace.

“We will never tolerate the slightest provocations of our enemies,

and will answer to that with all-out war,” North Korean major-general Pak Chan

Su, a Korean War veteran, told broadcaster APTN in Pyongyang. “This is the firm

standpoint of our People’s Army.”

South Korea pressed ahead today with anti-submarine drills to boost

readiness against any North Korean provocations.

During a one-day exercise off the west coast, 10 warships including

a 3 500-ton destroyer, fired artillery and other naval guns and dropped

anti-submarine bombs off Taean, about 150km south of Seoul, the navy said.

It was the first anti-submarine drill since the Cheonan disaster,

which occurred about 160km to the north, according to the navy.

South Korea is also planning two major joint military drills with

the US off the west coast next month in a display of force intended to deter

future aggression by North Korea.

North Korean state media, citing the drills, criticised South Korea

yesterday for “driving the situation to the brink of explosion”.



Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.