The military command of North Korea says that if South Korea and the United States don't cancel their joint military exercises by March 11, they can consider that whole 60-year-old armistice agreement totally over. The newest threat comes as China and the U.S. are reportedly drawing up new sanctions that they have negotiated together and will submit the U.N. Security Council to punish the DPRK for its nuclear weapons test last month.
South Korea and the United States began a series of "war games" on March 1, an annual exercise that serves as reminder to the North about the united front they face from the two allies. It's also a helpful reminder that that Korea War has never technically ended. The DMZ that divides the peninsula enforces an armistice agreement that was signed in 1953. It was designed to create a cease-fire "until a final peaceful settlement is achieved," but that never happened and no formal peace treaty was ever agreed to. That's why the U.S. Eighth Army never left and two nations are in a near constant state of belligerence.
The Chinese news service Xinhua even reported that the DPRK army called the armistice agreement "null."
The joint training operations between the South and the U.S. are set to last until April 30, but this is not the first time the North has threatened to destroy one or both of its rivals. It's hard to imagine that the shooting will start again soon, but there's no doubt that the rhetoric has never been harsher.
UPDATE(12:00 p.m.): China says that the economic sanctions against North Korea will be voted on by the U.N. Security Council this Thursday, and that they would be the toughest ever imposed by the United Nations.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.