North shuts door tighter on South

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North shuts door tighter on South

Pyongyang will no longer deal with Seoul and is severing two of the few remaining inter-Korean dialogue channels, North Korea’s supreme decision-making organization said yesterday.

In a statement reported by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, the National Defense Commission, chaired by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, said it will cut military communication lines along the East Sea coast and shut down a liaison office on Mount Kumgang.

It said these are the first steps and more will follow.

“We will enter a full-scale offensive designed to put to an end the maneuvers by the traitor Lee Myung-bak and its thuggish clan to confront the Republic [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea],” the NDC spokesman said in a statement, referring to the South Korean president.

“The full-scale offensive by our military and the people will be merciless,” the statement said.

The verbal threats come as the two Koreas remain at odds over the two provocations directed at the South last year - the sinking of the warship Cheonan, for which the North denies any involvement, and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. Seoul has refused to put the events behind it before an acknowledgement or apology from the North.

Late last month, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited South Korea after a trip to Pyongyang with a message from Kim that he was willing to have an inter-Korean summit.

Seoul regards it as a showy gesture lacking sincerity and is calling for the North to respond to its call for inter-Korean talks that it made in January through direct and official diplomatic channels.

The remarks yesterday are also being looked at to determine whether they hint at a downshift in the North’s will to economically engage the South following apparent growing economic ties with China.

Last Friday, Kim Jong-il finished a trip to China, the third in a year, which was observed by some to have taken economic ties between the two communist allies to a closer level.

In the statement, the NDC also reiterated its warning against the psychological warfare tactics of the South, including border-crossing anti-regime leaflets and reconfirmed its threat of sudden strikes from where the leaflets are sent.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

북 국방위 “남측과 더 상종 안 할 것”

김정일 귀국 나흘 만에 성명

북한은 30일 이명박 정부가 ‘반북 대결’ 움직임을 보이고 있다고 비난하면서 “더 이상 상종 않을 것”이라고 밝혔다. 북한 관영 조선중앙통신에 따르면 국방위원회는 대변인 성명에서 “역적패당의 반공화국대결책동에 종지부를 찍기 위한 거족적인 전면공세에 진입할 것”이라고 주장했다. 국방위는 “대결소동에 맞서기 위한 실제적인 행동조치들을 취하게 될 것”이라며 “1차적으로 북남 통행을 군사적으로 보장하기 위해 유지해온 동해지구 북남군부통신을 차단하고 금강산 지구의 통신연락소를 폐쇄하게 될 것”이라고 강조했다. 북한은 그러나 개성공단 가동에 필요한 물자·인력의 통행에 필요한 서해지구 군 통신선에 대해서는 언급하지 않았다.

북한의 비난 성명은 김정일이 중국 방문을 마치고 26일 귀환한 후 나흘 만에 자신이 위원장으로 있는 국방위를 통해 나왔다는 점에서 향후 남북관계에 대한 입장을 담고 있는 것으로 풀이된다. 하지만 4만여 명의 북한 근로자들이 연간 5000만 달러(약 540억원)의 임금을 벌어들이는 개성공단은 남겨두고 관광중단으로 유명무실한 동해채널만 차단한다는 점에서 대남엄포용일 가능성이 있다고 정부 당국은 보고 있다. 동해선 군사통신선은 회선 문제로 이미 가동이 사실상 중단된 상태다. 정부 소식통은 “최근 양주의 예비군 훈련장에서 김일성·김정일·김정은 3대 부자를 표적으로 삼아 사격훈련을 했다는 보도가 나오자 북한 군부가 격앙된 반응을 보인 것일 수 있다”고 말했다.

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