Inter-Korean tensions overshadow armistice anniversary

North Korean leader targeted American bases ahead of 61st anniversary of Korean War ceasefire agreement

Inter-Korean tensions overshadow armistice anniversary

World Bulletin/News Desk

North Korea marked the 61st anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement by revealing Sunday that it had aimed a rocket firing exercise at United States forces in South Korea the day before.

The North’s state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not disclose details of the drill, but did state that it had been guided by leader Kim Jong-un.

Sunday’s KCNA report said Kim threatened “a final ruin” to “whoever dares challenge,” having looked over a firing plan “mapped out in consideration of the present location of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces’ bases in South Korea and under the simulated conditions of the battle to strike and destroy them before guiding the drill.”

Around 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in the South, mostly in the capital Seoul, as the armistice that brought the Korean War to a close in 1953 was never followed by a peace treaty – the conflict saw the U.S. take a leading role in defending South Korea as part of the wider United Nations Command.

North Korea’s statement came hours after South Korea’s military had confirmed yet another ballistic missile test into the East Sea by the North – Saturday night’s being the sixth of this year and 15th including other kinds of rockets and missiles in 2014.

The reclusive state is barred by United Nations Security Council resolutions from testing ballistic missile technology, and earlier this month the UNSC issued a statement condemning the North’s recent launches.

While the Armistice Agreement anniversary is celebrated in North Korea as “Victory Day of Fatherland Liberation War,” the South held its own ceremony.

South Korea’s prime minister told around 3,000 veterans, families of Korean War victims and officials gathered in Seoul that they should “not allow a second war to break out on this soil.”

But Chung Hong-won also said the government would push for greater military strength so that the country would be able to “defend itself under any circumstances.”

The commander of U.S. Forces Korea spent part of Sunday at the border visiting the truce village of Panmunjom – but he also warned North Korea that they “remain vigilant” in efforts to secure the South.

General Curtis Scaparrotti said the North’s recent continued defiance of UNSC resolutions were “not acceptable and further isolate them from the international community.”

He continued by adding that Saturday night’s missile launch endangered “the safety of innocent people both at sea and in the air” because no notice was issued by North Korea.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2014, 16:54

Muhammed Öylek