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
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
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
"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.