08/17/2009, 00.00
KOREA
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Pyongyang reopens borders with the South, but is on "alert" for Korea - U.S. military exercises

North Korea announces the resumption of tourism and the reunification of families divided by war, with effect as of October 3. The communist regime does not rule out nuclear attacks if the military exercises between the United States and South Korea violate national borders.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - North Korea has ordered the reopening of borders with the South, the revival of tourism within national territory and the reunification of families from North and South Korea. Meanwhile the official state agency KCNA warns that the country is in a state of alert in anticipation of military exercises between South Korea and the United States.

The reopening of the borders between the two Koreas follows talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Hyun Jeong-eun (photo), chairman of Hyundai Group, which led to the release of South Korean workers in the hands of the Communist regime since March last year on charges of "insulting the leadership of the country." A press release distributed by Kcna states that the South Korean tourists and businessmen "will soon be allowed to cross borders freely”.  It adds that, starting from the day of thanksgiving in Korea, October 3, more visas will be granted to allow families separated by the war to meet.

International analysts recall the famine that periodically strikes North Korea and do not exclude that this country maybe going through a difficult period. The choice of opening the borders to people and goods could be justified by their attempt to give a new impetus to the national economy.

The two Koreas are still formally at war; to date there has been no signed peace agreement to officially end the conflict, that lasted from 1950 to 1953 and bloodied the peninsula. Despite the partial opening towards the South, Pyongyang warns that should national sovereignty be violated "during the joint military exercises by South Korea and the United States, the regime will respond with" immediate and merciless attacks, including the use of nuclear weapons”.

For now Seoul says it will not change its policy toward the North, despite the concessions announced by the regime. Moon Tae-young, spokesman for the Minister for Foreign Affiars, stressed that "any future change will depend on the attitude and the position of North Korea."
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