The Koreans On ‘The Brink’ Of War
STERN warnings flew back and forth across the border between North Korea and South Korea yesterday, the day before a North-imposed deadline for the South to shut off propaganda broadcasts or face war.
Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Commander of the North Korean military, ordered front-line units along the heavily fortified frontier to move to a war footing yesterday evening, state media reported.
His nuclear-armed regime, known for being both thin-skinned and fond of saber rattling, has warned South Korea it faces military action if it doesn’t turn off the propaganda loudspeakers by yesterday evening.
“The situation of the country is now inching closer to the brink of war,” Ji Jae Ryong, North Korean ambassador to China, told journalists in Beijing yesterday. He blamed South Korea for the situation.
That doesn’t necessarily mean war really is imminent: North Korea has used similar language in the past without hostilities breaking out. But South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo said yesterday that North Korea was pushing the tensions “to the utmost level.”
“North Korea’s offensive action is a despicable crime that breaks a ceasefire agreement and the non-aggression treaty between North and South,” Han said in an address broadcast on South Korean television.
“If North Korea continues on provoking, our military – as we have already warned – will respond sternly, and end the evil provocations of North Korea,” he said, adding the country is working closely with the United States.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been escalating since two South Korean soldiers were seriously wounded by landmines on August 4 in the Demilitarized Zone.
South Korea and the U.S.-led U.N. Command in Korea concluded North Korea planted the mines on a patrol route in the southern part of the zone.