Friday, March 08, 2013

North & South Korea exchange heated rhetoric as China shows signs of losing patience

SEOUL, South Korea — Angrily responding to the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous decision to impose tightened sanctions, North Korea said on Friday that it was nullifying all nonaggression agreements with South Korea, with one of its top generals claiming that his country had nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles ready to blast off.

Matching the harsh warning with a toughened stance, South Korea said Friday that if Pyongyang attacked the South with a nuclear weapon, the government of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would be “erased from the earth.”

Such language marked the most hostile exchange between the two Koreas, still technically at war, since they engaged in an artillery skirmish three years ago.

The verbal warfare represented a clash of nerves between the young North Korean leader, who is building his credentials as head of his militaristic country, and Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president, who considers former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain her role model and has stressed security as her top priority.
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