News / Asia

North Korea Scraps Military Safeguards with South

South Korean Navy Patrol Combat Corvettes stage an anti-submarine exercise at off the western coast town of Taean, 27 May 2010
South Korean Navy Patrol Combat Corvettes stage an anti-submarine exercise at off the western coast town of Taean, 27 May 2010

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

In a sharp escalation of tensions with South Korea, North Korea says it is discarding military procedures the two sides have agreed to follow for years to ensure a conflict does not get out of hand.

The general staff of the North Korean People's Army issued a notice Thursday dismantling a wide range of security guarantees it has observed for years.

Pyongyang says it will completely nullify a bilateral agreement with the South that was put in place to prevent clashes in waters west of the Korean peninsula.  That is the maritime region where North Korea has disputed a sea border for decades and where an international team of investigators concluded a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean patrol ship in March, killing 46 sailors.

The North says it will stop using maritime shortwave radio frequencies with the South and cut off other means of emergency communication.

That warning came as South Korea's navy conducted anti-submarine warfare drills off its west coast.  South Korea and the United States have announced they will conduct a joint anti-submarine exercise, widely expected to take place within a matter of weeks.

The North Korean military notice, carried on state-run media, also said South Korean ships and aircraft will no longer be allowed passage through the North's territorial space. Pyongyang says it may also prevent access into or out of a joint industrial complex in the North Korean city, Kaesong, potentially trapping hundreds of South Korean business managers there.

Thursday's notice is the latest unraveling of inter-Korean agreements put in place since a historic 2000 summit to ease tensions and encourage exchanges between the two sides. Yang Moo-jin, a scholar with the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, says the North is "playing hard ball".

He says North Korea's actions block any exchange of people and resources between the Koreas. He says it is an all-out shutdown.

Regularly scheduled tours of South Korea's side of the heavily armed inter-Korean border were abruptly curtailed Thursday after the North's announcement came out, as a safety precaution.

Professor Yang says the situation could easily escalate.

He says the power struggle taking place between the two Korea's could result in what he says could be "some of the most terrible things to happen since the Korean War".

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid