North Korea in a 'state of war'

2013-03-30 09:22
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un pointing to a South Korean island during a trip to an artillery unit on Wolnae Island near the disputed maritime frontier with South Korea. (Picture: AFP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un pointing to a South Korean island during a trip to an artillery unit on Wolnae Island near the disputed maritime frontier with South Korea. (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • South Korea
    Accessible yet packed with information, South Korea will appeal to geography students and casual... Now R567.00
    buy now
Seoul - North Korea declared it was in a "state of war" with South Korea and warned Seoul and Washington that any provocation would swiftly escalate into an all-out nuclear conflict.

The US said it took the announcement "seriously", but noted it followed a familiar pattern, while South Korea largely dismissed it as an old threat dressed in new clothing.

It was the latest in a string of dire-sounding pronouncements from Pyongyang that have been matched by tough warnings from Seoul and Washington, fuelling international concern that the situation might spiral out of control.

"As of now, inter-Korea relations enter a state of war and all matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol," the North said in a government statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

"The long-standing situation of the Korean peninsula being neither at peace nor at war is finally over," the statement said, adding that any US or South Korean provocation would trigger "a nuclear war".

The two Koreas have technically remained at war for the past six decades because the 1950- 1953 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

The North had announced earlier this month that it was ripping up the armistice and other bilateral peace pacts signed with Seoul in protest against South Korea-US joint military exercises.

The White House labelled the latest statement from Pyongyang as "unconstructive" and, while taking it "seriously", sought to place the immediate threat level in context.

"North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern," said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

In Seoul, the Unification Ministry insisted the war threat was "not really new". The Defence Ministry vowed to "retaliate thoroughly" to any provocation, but added that no notable troop movement had been observed along the border.

As with past crises, Pyongyang did not allow the tensions to impact the Kaesong industrial complex, a joint South-North venture that provides the regime with crucial hard currency.

"The border crossing to Kaesong is functioning normally," said unification ministry spokesperson Park Soo-Jin.

A verbal battle

Most observers still believe this will remain a verbal rather than a physical battle.

"The North Koreans in recent weeks have turned rhetoric into performance art," said Gordon Flake, a Korea specialist and executive director of the Mansfield Foundation in Washington.

"When they have already declared the armistice null and void, I do not think a declaration of war breaks new ground," Flake said.

But he added that the situation had now become so volatile that any slight miscalculation carried the potential for rapid escalation.

"The danger is, when the North Koreans have threatened a nuclear attack on Washington, they may not know a limit on how much they can get away with," said Flake.

Both China and Russia called for calm Friday, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voicing particular concern.

"We can simply see the situation getting out of control, it would spiral down into a vicious circle," Lavrov told reporters.

His warning came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ordered missile units to prepare to strike US mainland and military bases, after US stealth bombers flew over South Korea.

The high-stakes standoff has its roots in North Korea's successful long-range rocket launch in December and the third nuclear test it carried out in February.

Both events drew UN sanctions that incensed Pyongyang, which then switched the focus of its anger to the annual joint South Korea-US military drills.

As tensions escalated, Washington has maintained a notably assertive stance, publicising its use of nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers in the war games.

The long-distance deployment of both sets of aircraft out of bases in Guam and the US mainland were intended as a clear signal of US commitment to defending South Korea against any act of aggression.

Read more on:    kim jong-un  |  us  |  south korea  |  north korea  |  nuclear
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
30 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!

MIT has created a robo-cheetah that will one day outrun Usain Bolt!

 
 

For chic geeks...

New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Man climbs into active volcano

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Paarl

Houses R 1 970 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Somerset West

Houses R 6 500 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

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.