SEOUL (AFP) — North Korea said it was abandoning the truce that ended the Korean war and warned it could launch a military attack on the South, two days after testing an atomic bomb for the second time.
The announcement came amid reports the secretive North, which outraged the international community with its bomb test Monday, was also restarting nuclear fuel work that could make plutonium for an atomic weapon.
Defying international condemnation, the regime of Kim Jong-Il said it could no longer guarantee the safety of US and South Korean ships off its west coast and that the Korean peninsula was veering back towards a state of war.
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"Any tiny hostile acts against our republic, including the stopping and searching of our peaceful vessels... will face an immediate and strong military strike in response," the North Korean statement said.
It said its military would "no longer be bound" by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean war -- in which the United States fought on the side of the South -- because Washington had drawn Seoul into the PSI.
I was going to check out the KCNA site myself, but it's blocked here. Sure sabre-rattling goes on a lot here, and indeed most Koreans I've run into, who are presumably more used to this rhetoric than I am, let on that they're more upset about Roh Moo-hyun's suicide (or "suicide") than about North Korea, but nonetheless I don't want to be too flippant about these developments. The best source for news and updates on North Korea is and will be One Free Korea.