North Korea confirms tearing up of war armistice
By Lim Chang-Won, AFPSEOUL -- North Korea confirmed Wednesday that it had shredded the 60-year-old armistice ending the Korean War, and warned that the next step was an act of “merciless” military retaliation against its enemies.
March 14, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
A lengthy statement by the North's armed forces ministry added to the tide of dire threats flowing from Pyongyang in recent days that have raised military tensions on the Korean peninsula to their highest level for years.
The statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency argued that the real “warmongering” was coming from the United States and its “puppets” in Seoul.
“They would be well advised to keep in mind that the armistice agreement is no longer valid and (North Korea) is not restrained by the North-South declaration on non-aggression,” a ministry spokesman said.
“What is left to be done now is an action of justice and merciless retaliation of the army and people” of North Korea, the spokesman said.
The North announced last week that it would nullify the 1953 armistice and peace pacts signed with Seoul in protest over joint South Korea-U.S. military maneuvers that began on Monday.
Because the Korean War was concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, the two Koreas have always remained technically at war.
Voiding the ceasefire theoretically opens the way to a resumption of hostilities, although observers note this is far from the first time that North Korea has announced the demise of the armistice.
The armistice was approved by the U.N. General Assembly, and both the United Nations and South Korea have repudiated the North's unilateral withdrawal.
“The terms of the armistice agreement do not allow either side, unilaterally, to free themselves from it,” said U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky.
The North has also threatened to launch nuclear strikes against the United States and South Korea in response to fresh U.N. sanctions adopted after the North carried out its third nuclear test last month.
While the threats have been mostly dismissed as bluster, there are strong concerns that the North will attempt some form of military provocation in the coming weeks.