North Korea threatened to scrap the armistice agreement signed in 1953 if the U.S. and South Korea go forward with planned military exercises.
The threat was made today by the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Supreme Command spokesman. The spokesman warned that if the military exercises go forward, all military phone links across the border with South Korea would be cut off.
South Korean military spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters on Friday that North Korea was planning its own large-scale military drill for next month. The exercises could involve the North Korean army, navy and air force, as well as special forces units.
North Korea has consistently stated that the U.S. has violated the armistice agreement in the past, and demanded that it be replaced by a formal peace treaty.
An editorial published earlier today in North Korea’s Minju Joson further warned that “a war is becoming a reality, posing a threat to the DPRK, after going beyond an abstract conception.” It also said “the DPRK has become a strategic rocket and full-fledged nuclear weapons state” and that the U.S. did not pose a unilateral threat.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have escalated sharply since North Korea successfully launched a satellite in December and tested a nuclear device in January. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is expected to meet shortly and pass additional sanctions, with the U.S. and China reportedly reaching an agreement on Monday.
United States Forces Korea (USFK) is currently performing the “Foal Eagle” exercises, which involve approximately 10,000 U.S. troops and an unspecified number of South Korea troops. The “Key Resolve” exercises will begin on March 11th, and will involve 10,000 South Korea troops as well as 3,500 U.S. troops.
The exercises are a source of constant anger for the North Koreans, who assert that they are actually dress rehearsals for an invasion of North Korea.
North and South Korea never formally ended the Korean war, with hostilities frozen for sixty years based not on a peace treaty, but a temporary armistice agreement.