News / Asia

North Korea Breaks Relations with South Korea

A North Korean spokesman says Pyongyang is severing all relations and cutting communications links with South Korea.  North Korea says the move is punishment for what it calls a "smear campaign" over the sinking of a South Korean warship. Tensions are rapidly rising on the Korean peninsula.

North Korean official media accused South Korea Tuesday of trespassing in its territorial waters, and warned of military action.

Pyongyang says "dozens of warships" have entered waters west of the Korean peninsula in the past 10 days, and warns it will "put into force practical military measures to defend its waters."

North Korea has disputed a maritime border in the region for decades.

The Seoul government has accused North Korea of sinking a South Korean navy ship near the border and on Monday, President Lee Myung-bak announced package of retaliatory measures, such as cutting trade.

Repeating a warning he made in a televised address, Mr. Lee warned the situation is serious.

Lee says his country is in a dire situation.

Security concerns have spiked since last week, when a multinational investigation team revealed extensive evidence linking North Korea to the patrol ship sinking. Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the incident.

Seo Jae Pyung is director of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a group of North Korean defectors based in Seoul. He says his contacts in the North report that the government is preparing them for conflict.

He says the vice chairman of North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission read an official statement on domestic radio warning the army and related organizations to prepare thoroughly for war.

A separate North Korean news announcement warns if the South attacks the North, "our military and people will not lose the splendid opportunity to reunify the nation."

South Korea and the United States are planning to hold anti-submarine naval drills in the vicinity of the patrol ship sinking soon. A spokeswoman for the Lee administration says South Korea is considering re-designating North Korea as the country's "main enemy" in an annual defense brief. That designation was dropped six years ago, when South Korea was softening its tone as part of a policy to engage the North.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due in Seoul Wednesday for meetings with President Lee and other top officials. She is working with Seoul to build support for tough new sanctions against the North at the United Nations Security Council.

Those efforts are seen to hinge on China, which is a permanent member of the council, but has been reluctant to do anything that might destabilize North Korea. Wu Dawei, China's main delegate to multinational talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons, was in Seoul Tuesday but did not comment on the current situation. A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing called for "restraint" on all sides.   

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid