N Korea says it's at war with South
- Warns any provocation will result in nuclear conflict - Its missile units have already been placed combat-ready - China, Russia call for...
- Warns any provocation will result in nuclear conflict - Its missile units have already been placed combat-ready - China, Russia call for restraint by both countries - US says it is taking Pyongyang threats 'seriously' Seoul (AFP): North Korea on Saturday said it had formally entered a "state of war" with South Korea and warned that any provocation would swiftly escalate into a nuclear conflict. "As of now, inter-Korea relations enter a state of war and all matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol," the North said in a statement attributed to all government bodies and institutions. A series of threats It is the latest in a string of dire threats from Pyongyang that have been matched by tough warnings from South Korea and the United States, fuelling international concerns that the situation is spiralling out of control. "The long-standing situation of the Korean peninsula being neither at peace nor at war is finally over," said the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). The two Koreas have always technically remained at war because the 1950-53 Korean War concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty. The North had announced earlier this month that it was ripping up the armistice and other bilateral peace pacts signed with Seoul in protest against South Korea-US joint military exercises. Nothing new, says South "This is not really a new threat � just part of a series of provocative threats," the South's Unification Ministry said in a statement. The defence ministry added that no particular troop movement had been observed along the border. Just sabre-rattling: Analysts Most observers still believe this will remain a rhetorical rather than a physical battle, but the situation has now become so volatile any slight miscalculation carries the potential for rapid escalation. China, Russia monitor closely Both China and Russia asked for all sides to cooperate to prevent the situation worsening on Friday, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voicing particular concern. "We can simply see the situation getting out of control, it would spiral down into a vicious circle," Lavrov told reporters at a news conference. His warning came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ordered missile units to prepare to strike US mainland and military bases, vowing to "settle accounts" after US stealth bombers flew over South Korea. US ready to repulse US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed that Washington would not be cowed by Pyongyang's bellicose threats and stood ready to respond to "any eventuality". As tensions escalated, Washington has maintained a notably assertive stance, publicising its use of nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers in the war games. While he stressed the US was taking the threats "very seriously," the intelligence noted Pyongyang's combative rhetoric had not, so far, been matched by any overtly provocative troop build-up.
25 Jan 2020 11:32 AM GMT