Compiled by Brandon Humber
Tensions between North Korea and the international community are escalating following the country’s announcement Friday declaring it is cancelling its non-aggression pact with South Korea.
A statement released by the North Korean state-run Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, an organization that manages relations between the two Koreas, said the country “abrogates all agreements on non-aggression reached between the North and the South.”
The committee also reported the hotline between the North and the U.S.-supported South has been severed because there is “nothing to talk to the puppet group of traitors about.”
The hotline was installed in 1971 to facilitate direct communications between leaders of the two countries.
South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye said the situation is grave, but that provocation by the North will be dealt with.
“If North Korea attacks South Korea with nuclear power, the Kim Jong-un regime will be extinct from the earth by the will of mankind as well as by South Korea,” said Kim Min-Seok, the South Korean Defence Ministry spokesperson.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s state-owned news outlet, the country’s leader Kim Jong-un visited front-line troops near the Korean demilitarized zone, instructing soldiers to “keep themselves fully ready to go into action to annihilate the enemy any time an order is issued.”
The same agency reported that a spokesperson for the North Korean Foreign Ministry insisted that the country was preparing to defend itself against the United States, who they claim are the antagonists in the situation.
“Should the U.S. ignite a war in the end, it will cause flames of justice to flare up like an erupting volcano in which the aggressors will perish and the cursed Military Demarcation Line disappear for good,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The actions come on the heels of threats by North Korean General Kang Pyo Yong, who said the country is prepared to launch nuclear weapons at the United States.
“When we shell Washington, which is the stronghold of evils… will be engulfed in a sea of fire,” Yong told a crowd of thousands in Pyongyang on Thursday.
Current Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that North Korea has continuously made “belligerent and reckless moves that threaten the region, their neighbors and now, directly, the United States of America.”
“It’s very easy for Kim Jong-un to prove his good intent here also. Just don’t fire the next missile. Don’t have the next test. Just say you’re ready to talk,” Kerry said.
Stephen Yates, former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney told CNN that changing North Korea’s behavior begins with those countries that hold sway over Kim Jong-un.
“Changing the enabling behavior of Russia and China should be the highest priority for the U.S. and its allies. Targeting the behavior of Iran and North Korea alone has not worked,” he wrote.
The increasing hostilities are in response to sanctions by the United Nations Security Council following North Korea’s third nuclear missile test on Feb. 12.
The 15-nation Security Council, which features both the United States and North Korean ally, China, voted unanimously on the resolution that puts new constraints on trade, travel and banking.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told reporters on Friday that China has the power to dissuade North Korea from continuing on the warpath.
“I urge China to use its influence to persuade Pyongyang that sabre-rattling, war rhetoric, provocations and infringements of international law must come to an end,” Westerwelle said.