BEIJING (Kyodo) North Korea on Wednesday called South Korea’s decision on Tuesday to join the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative “a declaration of war” against it and warned it will respond militarily to any attempt to inspect its ships.
In a statement issued through the official Korean Central News Agency, the Panmunjeom Mission of the Korean People’s Army also said it will no longer be bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953.
North Korea’s armed forces will regard South Korea’s ” ‘full participation’ in the PSI as a declaration of war against the DPRK,” the statement said.
“They will regard any hostile actions against the DPRK, including checkup and inspection of its peaceful vessels, as an unpardonable encroachment on the DPRK’s sovereignty and counter them with prompt and strong military strikes,” the statement said.
DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The PSI, launched in 2003 by then U.S. President George W. Bush, is an international effort to interdict the transfer of banned weapons and weapons technology.
South Korea has had observer status in the PSI, but the previous government had refrained from full membership so as not to anger the North. It announced its participation after North Korea carried out its second nuclear test on Monday.
North Korea argued it is no longer bound to the armistice, saying that South Korea’s participation in the PSI violates international law and denies the armistice.
Once the armistice loses its binding force, the Korean Peninsula “is bound to immediately return to a state of war from a legal point of view and so our revolutionary armed forces will” resort to corresponding military actions, the statement said.
The statement did not elaborate on what the military actions might be.
Pyongyang said it could no longer guarantee the legal status of five islands under South Korean control or the safe sailing of U.S. and South Korean ships in the area.
“They should bear in mind that the DPRK has tremendous military muscle and its own method of strike” capable of conquering “any targets in its vicinity at one stroke” or hitting the United States, the statement said.
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