May 27 (Bloomberg) — North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.
“The Korean People’s Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with “prompt and strong military strikes.” South Korea’s military said it will “deal sternly with any provocation” from the North.
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak ordered his government to take “calm” measures on the threats, his office said in a statement today. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Takeo Kawamura, echoed those remarks and called on North Korea to “refrain from taking actions that would elevate tensions in Asia.”
The threats are the strongest since North Korea tested a nuclear weapon on May 25, drawing international condemnation and the prospect of increased sanctions against the communist nation. South Korea dispatched a warship to its maritime border and is prepared to deploy aircraft, Yonhap News reported, citing military officials it didn’t identify.
“This rapid-fire provocation indicates a more aggressive shift in the Kim Jong Il regime,” said Ryoo Kihl Jae, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “Kim is obviously using a strategy of maximum force.”
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