Monday, March 11, 2013

North Korea leaves phone to South Korea off the hook

As the United States and South Korea launched its two-week long "Key Resolve" war games today, North Korea followed through on two of its threatened responses – cutting off a hotline and "blowing apart" the armistice between North and South.
South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, confirmed this morning that the hotline between Pyongyang and Seoul appears to have been cut off, reports Agence France-Presse. "The North did not answer our call this morning," a ministry official said.
And Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North's ruling Communist Party, wrote Monday that the Korean War armistice, which ended hostilities between North and South but did not entail a formal peace agreement, was at a "complete end."
"With the ceasefire agreement blown apart... no one can predict what will happen from now on," the newspaper wrote.
Neither of today's moves are unexpected, or indeed new. AFP notes that the hotline has been cut off five times since its installation in 1971, most recently in 2010, and that the North has "voided" the armistice nearly a dozen times in the past 20 years, the last time in 2009.

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