SEOUL: North Korea Saturday restated that South Korea’s decision to join a US-led drive against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was a “declaration of war,” a report said.
Within days of Pyongyang’s detonation of a second nuclear bomb on May 25, Seoul said it would join Washington’s Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a move that incensed North Korea.
“South Korea’s full participation in the PSI is a wanton violation of the DPRK’s (North Korea’s) sovereignty and an open declaration of war against it,” a commentary published in the North’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun said, reported by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“South Korea will be wholly accountable for the disastrous consequences as it has followed foreign forces in utter disregard of the DPRK’s sovereignty and dignity,” said the commentary.
The PSI, launched in 2003 by then president George W. Bush, allows its member countries to interdict airplanes or ships suspected of carrying missiles and other weapons of mass destruction.
Earlier Saturday, President Lee Myung-Bak said South Korea would not make any compromises in the face of North Korea’s military threats and called for Pyongyang to return to six-party disarmament talks.
“I hereby make it clear again that there won’t be any compromise in issues threatening the lives of the people and national security,” Lee said at a speech marking Memorial Day to honour the Korean War dead.
“Even at this very moment, the North is ratcheting up the level of threats as we are also stepping up our defence posture, resulting in a trigger-wire confrontation,” Lee said.
In France, US President Barack Obama said North Korea’s nuclear test had been “extraordinarily provocative” and that the international community would take “a very hard look” at how it would react to the move.
The UN Security Council is considering new sanctions against Pyongyang but diplomats at the UN say agreement is being held up by differences among seven key powers.