North to cancel military pacts

Home > National > Politics

print dictionary print

North to cancel military pacts

In its latest threats to Seoul, North Korea declared yesterday it would “completely nullify” inter-Korean agreements providing military guarantees with South Korea and void another pact designed to prevent naval clashes off the west coast.

The North also said it would consider taking measures to ban all South Koreans and their vehicles from entering the Kaesong Industrial Complex, without giving a specific time frame.

The two Koreas held military talks in 2003 and again in 2007 to agree to military safeguards for inter-Korean land and rail travels. The two signed a deal in 2004 at another round of discussions to use maritime communications to avoid accidental clashes in the waters.

North Korea warned yesterday that if South Korean ships intrude into North Korean seas, it will launch “a prompt physical strike.”

The threats came on the same day the South Korean Navy staged its first anti-submarine exercise since the probe into the sinking of the Navy patrol ship Cheonan concluded that the North had sunk the 1,200-ton corvette.

Military officials said about 10 ships, including a 3,000-ton destroyer, participated in the single-day exercise. The Navy is also planning a joint anti-submarine exercise with U.S. forces.

The threat to ban all South Koreans and their vehicles from entering Kaesong followed a threat Wednesday that the North would cut off South Korean access to an inter-Korean zone on the west coast - indicating Kaesong - if the South resumed propaganda broadcasts over loudspeakers along the border, as it said it would Monday.

Officials at the Unification Ministry in Seoul said they were carefully monitoring the situation but weren’t taking any action on Kaesong, since the North had not yet applied concrete measures.

Built in 2003, at a time of improved inter-Korean ties, the Kaesong industrial zone is one of the last symbols of inter-Korean reconciliation. More than 120 South Korean companies employ 42,000 North Koreans, and shutting down the complex would deal a financial blow to both countries.

South Korean firms use Kaesong as the base of their exports to parts of Asia, and Kaesong serves as a source of foreign currency for North Korea, whose workers are paid in U.S. dollars.

Since South Korea announced Monday a series of countermeasures against the North for the Cheonan’s sinking, the North expelled eight South Korean officials from Kaesong Wednesday and cut off a border hot line and maritime communications with the South.

Pyongyang has also declared it would sever all relations with South Korea and won’t have any exchanges with Seoul as long as Lee Myung-bak remains president.


By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

북한 군부, 육로통행 전면차단 검토


MB 5·24 천안함 선언 이후개성공단 남측 근로자들의 신변안전 문제가 천안함 침몰 사태로 고조된 남북 간 긴장 상황의 핵으로 떠올랐다. 북한군 총참모부가 27일 “개성업지구 등과 관련한 육로통행의 전면차단 검토”를 언급하고 나섰기 때문이다. 천안함 사태 이후 북한 군부가 개성공단을 거명해 차단 가능성을 언급한 것은 이번이 처음이다. 하루 전 남북 장성급회담 북측 대표단장의 대남 통지문이 ‘서해지구 북남관리구역’이라는 표현으로 직접 공단을 거론하지 않던 데서 한 발 더 나간 것이다. 북한은 우리 측이 대북 확성기 방송을 재개할 경우 전면 차단조치를 취할 것이라고 밝히고 있고, 우리 군은 다음 달 이 방송을 예정대로 실시한다는 방침이어서 큰 파장이 예상된다. 개성공단은 남북관계에서의 상징성과 남측 121개 진출기업의 손실, 4만3000여 명 북한 근로자의 일자리 문제 등으로 남북한 모두 먼저 폐쇄를 선언하기 껄끄러운 사안이다.
  • 한글 기사 보기

  • More in Politics

    Moon's approval rating reaches all-time low: Realmeter poll

    Disciplinary hearing for top prosecutor is postponed

    Moon appoints ally to keep pressure on Yoon

    Injunction gives Yoon his job back, at least temporarily

    Prosecutors implore Choo to reconsider suspension

    Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
    with the Korea JoongAng Daily
    help-image Social comment?
    lock icon

    To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

    Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

    What’s Popular Now