Seoul (AsiaNews) - As tensions escalate, North Korea announced that it had cut off a "military hotline" with South Korea, and that "war may break out at any moment". In view of this, "there is no need to keep north-south military communications". Overnight, a South Korean soldier standing on guard at the tense inter-Korean border threw a grenade after he heard noises.
Pyongyang appears determined to push ahead with military provocation. After South Korea and the United States held a series of joint military exercises and the United Nations approved a new round of economic sanctions against North Korea, Kim Jong-un's regime disconnected a Red Cross hotline routed through the village of Panmunjom. Previously, it had threatened to launch a ruthless pre-emptive nuclear attack against Washington and Seoul.
With today's decision to cut the hotline, "The Supreme Command of the Korean People's Army solemnly declared that" due "to the reckless acts of the enemies, the north-south military communications which were set up for dialogue and cooperation between the north and the south has already lost its significance," North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. Since "war may break out any moment, there is no need to keep North-South military communications."
North Korea's attempt to undermine the international consensus against its nuclear programme, backed by Beijing, is also illustrated by its ruling Workers' Party of Korea's plenary meeting of top party leaders this month "to discuss and decide an important issue".
The party usually meets once a year to ratify the decisions taken by the leadership. The plenary session of the Party's Central Committee at the end of this month is expected to "discuss and decide an important issue in order to victoriously advance the Korean revolution and take a decisive turn in achieving the Juche revolutionary cause under the banner of great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism," KCNA reported.
Juche is an ideology of economic self-reliance that combines Communism, Stalinism, nationalism and a version of neo-Confucianism developed under Kim Il-sung at the beginning of his revolution.
The party meeting comes just days before the annual session of the Supreme People's Assembly, which is scheduled for 1 April in Pyongyang, ahead of 11 April, first anniversary of the day when the "young general" Kim Jong-un became First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea.