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North Korea declares 'state of war' against South Korea

Saturday March 30, 2013 10:25:51 AM, Agencies

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Seoul: North Korea Saturday declared that it had formally entered a "state of war" with South Korea, reports Xinhua.

In an official statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea said: "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 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an amistice, not a peace treaty. The two Koreas have thus technically remained at war for decades.

The North has been issuing dire warnings, in the wake of joint military exercises between South Korea and the US. Although South Korea has largely dismissed the latest official pronouncement as an old threat, there are concerns that the tension might escalate.

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and "judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation", the official KCNA news agency said.

KCNA said North Korea and the United States could only settle their differences by "physical means". The North has an arsenal of Soviet-era short-range Scud missiles that can hit South Korea but its longer-range Nodong and Musudan missiles, which could in theory hit U.S. Pacific bases, are untested.

China, the North's sole major ally, repeated its calls for restraint on the Korean peninsula at a regular Foreign Ministry briefing and made no criticism of the U.S flights.

"We hope that relevant parties will work together in pushing for a turnaround of the tense situation," ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

Tension has been high since North Korea conducted a third nuclear weapons test in February in breach of U.N. sanctions and despite warnings from China for it not to do so.

Russia's foreign minister implicitly criticised the U.S. bomber flights.

"We are concerned that alongside the adequate, collective reaction of the U.N. Security Council, unilateral action is being taken around North Korea that is increasing military activity," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The situation could simply get out of control, it is slipping toward the spiral of a vicious cycle," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow when asked about the situation.

He called for efforts to get stalled six-party talks on North Korea going again. The talks have involved the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, China and Japan.





 

  



 

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