N Korea scraps peace pacts with South

2013-03-08 08:06

Seoul - North Korea responded to new UN sanctions on Friday with fresh threats of nuclear war, the scrapping of peace pacts with South Korea and the severing of a hotline with Seoul.

The latest measures announced by Pyongyang ramped up tensions on the Korean peninsula that have surged since the North staged a third nuclear test last month.

On Thursday, the country had threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea.

Pyongyang is known for its bellicose rhetoric, but the tone has reached a frenzied pitch in recent days, fuelling concerns that it might trigger a border incident, with both North and South planning major military exercises next week.

North Korea "abrogates all agreements on non-aggression reached between the North and the South", the state-run Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) said in a statement.

North-South hotline

A non-aggression pact signed in 1991 endorsed the peaceful settlement of disputes and the prevention of accidental military clashes.

The CPRK said the pact would be voided as of Monday, the same day that Pyongyang has vowed to rip up the 1953 armistice agreement that ended Korean War hostilities.

"It also notifies the South side that it will immediately cut off the North-South hotline," the committee said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

The hotline was installed in 1971 and the North has severed it on five occasions in the past - most recently in 2010.

Pyongyang's latest announcement came hours after the UN Security Council beefed up existing sanctions on the communist state in response to its 12 February nuclear test.

US ‘fully capable’ of defending South

The resolution adopted by the 15-member Council added new names to the UN sanctions blacklist and tightened restrictions on North Korea's financial dealings, notably its suspect "bulk cash" transfers.

The new sanctions will "bite hard", said the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice. "They increase North Korea's isolation and raise the cost to North Korea's leaders of defying the international community."

China wants "full implementation" of the resolution, said its UN envoy Li Baodong, while stressing that efforts must be made to bring North Korea back to negotiations and to defuse tensions.
Prior to the Security Council meeting, the North Korean foreign ministry had threatened a "pre-emptive nuclear attack" against the United States and all other "aggressors".

The United States responded by saying it was "fully capable" of defending itself and its allies - including South Korea - against any missile strike.”

‘Merciless’ response to intrusion

The CPRK statement on Friday condemned the UN resolution as proof that Washington and its "puppets" in Seoul were "hell bent" on confrontation.

"North-South relations have gone so far beyond the danger line that they are no longer reparable and an extremely dangerous situation is prevailing on the Korean Peninsula where a nuclear war may break out right now," it said.

The statement warned that the North Korean military would respond "mercilessly" to any intrusion - "even an inch" - into its land, sea or air space.

An annual US-South Korea military exercise known as Foal Eagle is currently underway and another joint drill is scheduled to begin on Monday.

The North is also believed to be gearing up for nationwide military manoeuvres of its own next week, involving all three wings of its armed forces.

Ready for all-out war

While most observers dismiss the North's nuclear war threats as bluster, there are fears about the volatile mix of hair-trigger tension and military exercises.

"There's always that risk of a miscalculation and rapid escalation," said Dan Pinkston, a Seoul-based security expert for the International Crisis Group.

"Most of this is bluster, but the regime in North Korea is also signalling that it's willing to take greater risks, and that's a dangerous sign," Pinkston told AFP.

KCNA said North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Thursday visited a frontline military unit involved in the shelling of a South Korean island in 2010.

During his inspection, Kim declared the North was ready for all-out war and that he would order attacks in all frontline areas in case of any provocation, KCNA said.

  • Bruce Williams - 2013-03-08 08:21

    Not good news. These North Koreans are crazy and unpredictable.

  • AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-03-08 08:27

    Those puppets in Seoul ! They are 6 inches taller , have gangnam styles and electricity after 8 o'clock , those b@stards ! China :"WTF ?" (heads shaking)

  • Adam Van Hagen - 2013-03-08 08:35

    ... and here I am sitting at school in Ulsan thinking this would be a good weekend. Nothing like the threat of nuclear war to ruin your day.

  • Tommy Jones - 2013-03-08 08:40

    Sounds like a Mexican stand-off.

  • Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-08 08:50

    But the whole point of such sanctions is to hurt the ordinary people, in the hope that people will blame the government, and thus pressure it to change the policies that the sanctions stem from. It's little more than economic mass terrorism, which is no different to what the Korean government does to its citizens. Sanctions seemed like a good idea 10 years ago, but they haven't worked at all, not in Iran or anywhere else. Give up on sanctions and take up talking and dealing. Even the Chinese do that, and they have a bigger language problem than the English speaking powers.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 09:00

      Actually the Chinese co-drafted the new sanctions.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 09:00

      Actually the Chinese co-drafted the new sanctions.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 09:00

      Actually the Chinese co-drafted the new sanctions.

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-08 09:15

      I know, but it's never Chinese policy to draft proposals that countries be sanctioned, e.g. Iran, Myanmar and Syria, etc.. Sanctions will inflict misery upon an already suffering Korean civilian population. In Iraq, the sanctions first slaughtered half a million Iraqi babies and then “shock and awe" killed over a hundred thousand Iraqis. They didn't prevent both India and Pakistan from acquiring or giving up their nuclear arsenal.

      Anthony Varekamp - 2013-03-08 09:18

      Fidel Bulltista, The WHOLE WORLD against this FAT PSYCHOPATH===========economic mass terrorism!! YOU have become the clown on this site!!! ps WHY all these stupid names ??? After you were so keen to put my full name on this site, what is your problem. Are you THAT spineless ???????????

      Holdanigono - 2013-03-08 09:25

      Scrap the sanctions and take out Kim Jon Un - he is more aggressive than his predecessors, but I don't think he will last long.

      Herman Leon Erasmus - 2013-03-08 09:29

      So what is your suggestion then ?

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-08 09:52

      A different approach to the problem might be to offer nuclear disarmament of the current holders in order to dissuade would be nuclear holders from trying to acquire them. Anthony, if you don't stop annoying the adults who are trying to have a serious discussion then I'm afraid your parents will be informed.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 09:57

      Which would just leave the madmen with nuclear weapons. Very risky option.

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-08 10:01

      Sanctions haven't worked, aren't going to work, my option is risky, so do tell us.......

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 10:05

      That is the problem, however disarming yourself in the hope that your opponent will do the same is suicidal. The eternally at odds security council seems to have unanimously concluded that sanctions are the best option.

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-08 10:14

      Burying their heads in the sand, so to speak. Albert Einstein's definition of insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" is applicable hear. The diplomacy of sanctions, ostracism and brinkmanship has failed resoundingly. As Korea's (Iran) nuclear weapons-development activities continue unabated, the UNSC needs to make a break with the old rules of engagement.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 10:22

      So your alternative is suicide? At the end of the day the sanctions have at least kept the North out of the South, for now.

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-08 10:43

      I personally support a policy of support and integration towards the North, which also would include the lifting of all sanctions. This would offer the government there to offer more economic well being to its people and thus something beyond mere nationalism.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 10:48

      The government is hardly interested in the well being of its people, as evidenced by the unparalleled repression of freedom experienced there. Lifting sanctions is unlikely to change those attitudes.

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-08 11:12

      So the Korean people (who are hostages) can be fed to the wolves as far as the UNSC is concerned, because their government doesn't care for them, and these powers care for them.

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 11:21

      Once again: what is your alternative? Releasing sanctions is unlikely to help their lot.

  • Simphiwe Tladi - 2013-03-08 09:09

    Eish...North Korea's very dangerous now,the US and Sk better watch what they're doing on those military exercises

      Herman Leon Erasmus - 2013-03-08 09:32

      If NK is ever stupid enough to launch a invasion they will be slapped down hard , the South Korean army is very professional and well equipped.And if they dare use chemical or biological warfare the US would turn North Korea into a huge glowing parking lot

      Simphiwe Tladi - 2013-03-08 11:35

      @Herman,are you saying the US possesses chemical weapons?

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-03-08 12:04

      No, he is talking about nuclear weapons.

  • Michael - 2013-03-08 09:58

    The "Great Leader" needs a dose of lead administered to back of the head.

  • muenda.ramulongo - 2013-03-08 10:07

    The Chinese are playing it safe, they know that imposing tighter sanction is not what they want but what they need to convince the world that they are committed to promoting golbal peace and stability. As tension escalate between the two Koreans China hopes to have acquired credibility and leverage to be part of the solution, cos they cannot afford to entirely take sides. I think it is a good balancing act by China.

  • Jaco Whoosh Pearson - 2013-03-08 10:55

    Can someone just go over to North Korea and shoot Kim Jong Un in the face. Having a kid in power with a finger on a nuclear trigger is not really that good of an idea. And sacnctions, wow, so smart... lets just completly cut off all intelligence that could give us an heads up and piss them off even more... great going UN. Isolating a nation run by megalomaniacs... Genius!

  • Marius Conradie - 2013-03-08 12:50

    They are increasing sanctions in an attempt to stop them from building nuclear weapons, right? or to bring them back to peace talks. It's pretty clear that this approach is not working. So then.... the alternative is... Oh and NC has said that further sanctions will force them to continue. and about sanction... we cant even stop drugs or really control much else. control is an illusion, there is always a way around it. So what is the real point and the real agenda here, cuz I see a lot of hidden agendas. In the end tho, we all just have to wait and see what happens. Not much we can do about it

  • chris.polinski.18 - 2013-03-08 13:43

    have human beings gone completely insane!! what ever happened to talking and when was this pastime replaced by "i will use nuclear weapons to let you know how we feel". Only if we could really grasp the true meaning of peace! or is warfare the new peace.......?

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