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NKorea says it is in a 'state of war' with SKorea

By Sam Kim

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:34 a.m. HST, Mar 31, 2013

SEOUL, South Korea >> North Korea warned Seoul Saturday that the Korean Peninsula had entered "a state of war" and threatened to shut down a border factory complex that's the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Analysts say a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely, noting that the Korean Peninsula has remained in a technical state of war for 60 years. But the North's continued threats toward Seoul and Washington, including a vow to launch a nuclear strike, have raised worries that a misjudgment between the sides could lead to a clash.

In Washington, the White House said today that the United States is taking seriously the new threats by North Korea but also noted Pyongyang's history of "bellicose rhetoric."

North Korea's threats are seen as efforts to provoke the new government in Seoul, led by President Park Geun-hye, to change its policies toward Pyongyang, and to win diplomatic talks with Washington that could get it more aid. North Korea's moves are also seen as ways to build domestic unity as young leader Kim Jong Un strengthens his military credentials.

On Thursday, U.S. military officials revealed that two B-2 stealth bombers dropped dummy munitions on an uninhabited South Korean island as part of annual defense drills that Pyongyang sees as rehearsals for invasion. Hours later, Kim ordered his generals to put rockets on standby and threatened to strike American targets if provoked.

North Korea said in a statement Saturday that it would deal with South Korea according to "wartime regulations" and would retaliate against any provocations by the United States and South Korea without notice.

"Now that the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK have entered into an actual military action, the inter-Korean relations have naturally entered the state of war," said the statement, which was carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Provocations "will not be limited to a local war, but develop into an all-out war, a nuclear war," the statement said.

Hours after the statement, Pyongyang threatened to shut down the jointly run Kaesong industrial park, expressing anger over media reports suggesting the complex remained open because it was a source of hard currency for the impoverished North.

"If the puppet group seeks to tarnish the image of the DPRK even a bit, while speaking of the zone whose operation has been barely maintained, we will shut down the zone without mercy," an identified spokesman for the North's office controlling Kaesong said in comments carried by KCNA.

South Korea's Unification Ministry responded by calling the North Korean threat "unhelpful" to the countries' already frayed relations and vowed to ensure the safety of hundreds of South Korean managers who cross the border to their jobs in Kaesong. It did not elaborate.

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said the country's military remains mindful of the possibility that increasing North Korean drills near the border could lead to an actual provocation.

"The series of North Korean threats — announcing all-out war, scrapping the cease-fire agreement and the non-aggression agreement between the South and the North, cutting the military hotline, entering into combat posture No. 1 and entering a 'state of war' — are unacceptable and harm the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula," Kim said.

"We are maintaining full military readiness in order to protect our people's lives and security," he told reporters Saturday.

In Washington, Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, noted the "reports of a new and unconstructive statement from North Korea."

"We take these threats seriously and remain in close contact with our South Korean allies," Hayden said. "But, we would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats, and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern."

The White House has stressed the U.S. government's capability and willingness to defend itself and its allies and interests in the region, if necessary.

"We remain fully prepared and capable of defending and protecting the United States and our allies," Hayden said.

The two Koreas remain technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Naval skirmishes in the disputed waters off the Korean coast have led to bloody battles several times over the years.

But on the streets of Seoul on Saturday, South Koreans said they were not worried about an attack from North Korea.

"From other countries' point of view, it may seem like an extremely urgent situation," said Kang Tae-hwan, a private tutor. "But South Koreans don't seem to be that nervous because we've heard these threats from the North before."

The Kaesong industrial park, which is run with North Korean labor and South Korean know-how, has been operating normally, despite Pyongyang shutting down a communications channel typically used to coordinate travel by South Korean workers to and from the park just across the border in North Korea. The rivals are now coordinating the travel indirectly, through an office at Kaesong that has outside lines to South Korea.

North Korea has previously made such threats about Kaesong without acting on them, and recent weeks have seen a torrent of bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang. North Korea is angry about the South Korea-U.S. military drills and new U.N. sanctions over its nuclear test last month.

Dozens of South Korean firms run factories in the border town of Kaesong. Using North Korea's cheap, efficient labor, the Kaesong complex produced $470 million worth of goods last year.


Associated Press White House reporter Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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entrkn wrote:
Sounds like its time for another more special visit from those B-2s...
on March 30,2013 | 11:44AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Another visit...would be playing games.
on March 30,2013 | 12:28PM
ezridah wrote:
don't forget the subs..cruizin
on March 30,2013 | 03:49PM
hanalei395 wrote:
That's all... just cruizin. The B-2's ....playing games.
on March 30,2013 | 05:27PM
kennysmith wrote:
if they do that have them fly by the border, and let's see what he will do then?.
on March 31,2013 | 09:52AM
hanalei395 wrote:
B-2's... playing games by the border... itching for a fight.
on March 31,2013 | 03:22PM
false wrote:
What is the purpose of N Korea in keeping the "industrial Kaesong complex" open, if not for greenback currency? They certainly don't want to spread good will, after cutting all other ties of communication between the North and South. This complex manufactures home consumption goods for the North. while all the managers are daily transients from the South. Why is South Korea still sending their managers to this complex? Funny world we live in.
on March 30,2013 | 01:30PM
hon2255 wrote:
nuke um
on March 30,2013 | 03:15PM
Slow wrote:
And nuke Cuba, China, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, Iran, Egypt and that damned pesky Nigeria. We'll show 'em!
on March 30,2013 | 04:26PM
8082062424 wrote:
You got to watch Olympus Has fallen. I doubt it will ever play out as the movie plays it out but it give you some thing to think about. It one person take on this Korea problems
on March 30,2013 | 03:40PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
Another interesting analogy would be the opening season of the newer version of Battlestar Galactica.
on March 31,2013 | 08:05AM
Anonymous wrote:
The government of North Korea does not care about its citizens. Our government cares for us.
on March 30,2013 | 04:06PM
HD36 wrote:
Socialism works wonders untill you run out of other people's money.
on March 31,2013 | 12:59AM
kamoae wrote:
So North Korea is in a "state of war". It seems that they are always in a state of war! Such childlike rhetoric for someone trying to lead a starving nation! It's time he got off his high horse and actually helped his people instead of constantly threatening those countries he actually and secretly hopes to emulate. Perhaps China should take over North Korea. China's government is a much more sane entity to deal with.
on March 30,2013 | 04:23PM
Slow wrote:
My annoying Korean neighbor called my kid a doo-doo butt. So I burned his house and killed him and his family. His name is Kim Jong Un. He desrved American wrath.
on March 30,2013 | 04:29PM
jussayin wrote:
Just a funny. US sends two B-2s that dropped dummy munitions which provoked NK further since these planes can carry nuclear weapons. So NK goes on War alert. Recently China voiced their concern to both countries to talk it out and find a peaceful resolution. Seems like China is the adult. BTW, sending the B-2s cost us $2,100,000; round trip from Missouri to Korea.
on March 30,2013 | 05:02PM
hanalei395 wrote:
I seems the U.S. don't mind having a war, but not until after 2014, when everybody is home from Afghanistan.
on March 30,2013 | 07:15PM
hanalei395 wrote:
"It" seems ........
on March 30,2013 | 07:31PM
HD36 wrote:
We're so far in debt it's impossible to pay off.
on March 31,2013 | 01:01AM
localguy wrote:
True cost but look at it in perspective. USAF pilots must fly a set number of hours to maintain proficiency. As this was part of a training exercise, it was already funded/budget covered. If the need comes for more flights, they can be based much closer for lower cost and shorter flights. Point to North Korea, we can take you out anytime we want and you will never see us coming.
on March 31,2013 | 11:15AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Point to Souh Korea ...After the U.S. starts bombing and the Korean war is on again, the S. Koreans WILL see the N. Koreans coming, destroying the South, while the U.S. destroys the North. (Some people might think this is a win-win for the U.S. Especially, the "nuke 'em" crowd).
on March 31,2013 | 02:29PM
pcman wrote:
IRT locala guy, it takes upward of 100 people to prepare a B-2 to launch for an exercise mission. In a real war mission, upwards of 200 people would be need to launch and recover a B-2. They all need to practice in exercises to ensure they can perform when the stuff hits the fan. Th exercise was not all fun and games. It was practice..
on March 31,2013 | 03:04PM
SueH wrote:
If Mr. Kim Chee shoots at us, we'll just shoot back....with bigger bullets that won't miss.
on March 30,2013 | 06:11PM
hanalei395 wrote:
S. Korea, with its Hyundai, Kia, Samsung, etc., etc., won't let that to happen. SK does NOT want a war.
on March 30,2013 | 06:38PM
pcman wrote:
IRT SueH, Not only will we shoot back, but we will destroy his nukes, End of story.
on March 31,2013 | 03:11PM
moondog73 wrote:
This clown is nuts. You can't predict what a crazy person will do.
on March 31,2013 | 12:13AM
808warriorfan wrote:
on March 31,2013 | 08:17AM
HD36 wrote:
Koreans are the best at ratcheting up drama.
on March 31,2013 | 12:56AM
kahuku01 wrote:
I am confused as to why North Korea has entered a state of war with South Korea. Could someone that has an insight of this treat by North Korea upon South Korea reveal what is the ultimate goal especially Koreans fighting Koreans. Is it just because Kim Jong Un is trying to act like a young bully and trying to strengthen his military credentials? These hardheaded Koreans should calm down and live a civil life like the rest of the free world.
on March 31,2013 | 06:23AM
hanalei395 wrote:
They're mad because a foreign country that called them one of the "Axis of Evil" is stationed on the Korean peninsula, and like Iraq, is ready to strike. They think they're next.
on March 31,2013 | 07:12AM
jussayin wrote:
In this recent situation, it's due to the SK and US military exercises that NK views as a show of force against their country. When you think about it, that's what it is. More so when US sent the two B2 bombers from US to SK and back that can carry nuclear weapons. So that escalated tension. But as you said, it's really sad as it's Koreans against Koreans. It's too bad SK/US don't want to talk things over with NK. Not saying it'll work but these military demonstrations just increases NK's insecurity that they'll be taken over by the western world. It's really too bad that Russia and US divided Korea as part of the WWII settlement. Oh well.
on March 31,2013 | 08:53AM
localguy wrote:
Hey Kimmy boy, go ahead and shut down the jointly run Kaesong industrial park. Will not hurt the South one bit but it will take away your much needed extra currency. So do it now, quit saying you will do it if you are man enough. Which we know you are not. You are nothing but a spoiled brat, a little boy whining to make himself look good. Grow up. Man up you are wimp and just go away.
on March 31,2013 | 11:12AM
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