March 29, 2010
Published: 11:07 IST(29/3/2010)
Last Updated: 11:09
IST(29/3/2010)NKorea accuses South of psychological warfare
Korea warned the US and South Korea on Monday of deadly consequences
for engaging in "psychological warfare" by allowing journalists into the
heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas.
The stern statement was the first from North Korea's military since a
South Korean naval ship sank in the tense waters near the Koreas'
maritime border under unclear circumstances. It made no mention of the
ship, submerged off the South Korean island of Baengnyeong as the
mission to rescue 46 missing seamen continued.
The area, just south of the disputed sea border, has been the site of
three bloody skirmishes between the foes. However, South Korean and US
officials say nothing suggests North Korean involvement in Saturday's
The exact cause of the explosion that tore a hole into the Cheonan
and split it apart may not be clear until the ship is salvaged after the
rescue operation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
On Monday, a spokesman for the Korean People's Army accused South
Korea of engaging in "psychological warfare" inside the DMZ, saying that
allowing journalists into the zone violates the armistice agreement
signed to stop the three-year Korean War in 1953.
The two Koreas remain in a state of war because they have never
signed a formal peace treaty.
Hundreds of thousands of troops on both sides guard the 2.5-mile-wide
(4-kilometer-wide) DMZ. Security is tight and special permission is
required to enter.
Journalists and foreign tourists are allowed to visit the truce
village of Panmunjom. South Korea's Defense Ministry, however, has
allowed some media organizations to enter the DMZ this year, the 60th
anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.
"If the US and the South Korean authorities persist in their wrong
acts to misuse the DMZ for the inter-Korean confrontation despite our
warnings, these will entail unpredictable incidents including the loss
of human lives in this area for which the US side will be wholly to
blame," North Korea's military warned in a statement carried by the
state-run Korean Central News Agency.
North Korea routinely issues such warnings to South Korea and the US,
which has 28,500 troops in the country. On Friday morning, the military
warned of "unprecedented nuclear strikes" if the foes sought to
destabilize the communist nation.
The threats have been more frequent since the US and South Korea
embarked on routine joint military drills taking place in March and
April. North Korea cites the US troops' presence on South Korean soil as
a reason for building up its nuclear weapons program.