On Saturday, Russian media outlets reported that recent media reports that the DPRK declared a “state of war” with the ROK might have their origin in a mistranslation. International media reported the DPRK statement, published on the official state news agency KCNA, as reading that the DPRK “is entering a state of war” with the ROK, and that all questions between the neighbouring countries would be handled in accordance with wartime protocol. On Saturday, AFP cited the same DPRK statement as saying, “The long-standing situation of the Korean peninsula being neither at peace nor at war is finally over”. However, later on Saturday, Russian media reports stated that a faulty translation might have been to blame for the apparent uptick in bellicose rhetoric.
Apparently, the original DPRK statement emphasised that the country would act “in accordance with wartime laws” if attacked, and, from that time, North-South relations would enter a state of war”. The DPRK and the ROK aren’t technically “at peace”, since there was no peace treaty signed following the Korean War in 1953. The Demilitarised Zone between the countries is the most heavily-armed border in the world. On 11 March, the ROK and the USA began their annual large-scale military exercises, codenamed Key Resolve. The drills involved 10,000 ROK and 3,500 American troops. Prior to the exercises, Pyongyang threatened the USA with a pre-emptive nuclear strike amidst warnings that it planned to terminate the Korean War Armistice Agreement. It warned of retaliatory countermeasures if the USA and the ROK went ahead with the drills.
On Thursday, the USA dispatched two nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bombers on an “extended deterrence” practise run over the ROK. American officials said that the exercise should serve “to demonstrate very clearly the resolve of the USA to deter aggression on the Korean peninsula”. On Friday, the DPRK responded by placing its strategic rocket forces on standby to strike American and ROK targets. Russian media reported that ROK news agency Yonhap cited unnamed military sources as saying that “no special deployments of DPRK forces were observed, despite this threatening rhetoric”. There’s been no further clarification from the DPRK.
30 March 2013