SEOUL: North Korea warned of a military response after South Korea joined an anti-proliferation exercise, and said it is no longer bound by the 1953 armistice which ended their war.
A military statement quoted by official media also said the North could no longer guarantee the safety of shipping off its west coast.
It repeated Pyongyang’s position that Seoul’s decision to join the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is tantamount to a declaration of war.
South Korea announced Tuesday it will become a full member of the PSI initiative to curb trade in weapons of mass destruction, after the North tested a nuclear weapon the previous day.
“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 statement said.
“Our military will no longer be bound by the armistice accord as the current US leadership… has drawn the puppets (South Korea) into the PSI,” said the statement from the North’s military representative at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
The statement said that if the armistice is no longer binding, “the Korean peninsula will go back to a state of war.”
This meant North Korean troops would take “corresponding military action,” the statement said without giving details.
“Those who have provoked us will face unimaginable merciless punishment.”
The statement said the US “imperialists and the traitor Lee Myung-Bak’s group have driven the situation on the Korean peninsula into a state of war.”