North Korea threatened to retaliate against South Korea’s nominee for defense minister, Kim Byung Kwan, after he vowed to respond to any attack by the North.
A retired general and former deputy commander of the U.S.-South Korea Combined Forces, Kim will be the “first target in the great war for national reunification” should he continue his criticisms, a spokesman for the North Korea-based Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency Saturday.
Kim on March 8 said South Korea will respond to an artillery attack from North Korea by toppling the regime, Yonhap News reported, citing comments he made during his parliamentary confirmation hearing.
The threats by North Korea follow the unanimous approval of tougher sanctions by the United Nations Security Council against the totalitarian state for its nuclear detonation last month. Tension on the peninsula escalated after North Korea said in the past week that it will scrap the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and cancel a cross-border hotline.
South Korean and U.S. military forces will hold the annual Key Resolve maneuvers from Monday until March 21. South Korea added two groups and three individuals to its North Korea sanctions list, barring them from financial transactions with South Korean entities, the finance ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.
North Korea said units of its armed forces rallied in South Phyongan, Jagang and North Hamgyong provinces Saturday, according to a statement carried by KCNA. Armed forces held rallies in North Phyongan and South Hwanghae provinces Sunday, another KCNA statement said. Regional heads of the Workers’s Party of Korea said it is the “final conclusion and will” of North Korea to “settle accounts with the U.S.,” according to the statement.
The expanded UN measures target “illicit” actions by North Korean diplomats and bulk transfers of cash and restrictions aimed at halting the import of technology needed for the development of nuclear weapons. The sanctions also restrict North Korea’s ability to raise cash by selling military technology.
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