Koreas slide into Cold War-era standoff after North's nuke test

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- North Korea trumpets a hydrogen bomb test. South Korea responds by cranking up blasts of harsh propaganda from giant green speakers aimed across the world's most dangerous border.

See Full Article

Now Pyongyang warns of war.

As the world looked Saturday for ways to punish the North over a nuclear test that pushes Pyongyang closer to its goal of a nuclear armed missile that can reach the U.S. mainland, the two Koreas have quickly slid into the kind of Cold War-era standoff that has defined their relationship over the past seven decades.

A top North Korean ruling party official's warning that the South's broadcasts have pushed the Korean Peninsula "toward the brink of war" is typical of Pyongyang's over-top-rhetoric. But it is also indicative of the real fury that the broadcasts, which criticize the country's revered dictatorship, cause in the North.

Seoul resumed the cross-border broadcasts Friday for the first time in the nearly five months. Pyongyang says the broadcasts are tantamount to an act of war. When Seoul Korea briefly resumed propaganda broadcasts in August after an 11-year break, Seoul says the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire.

Besides the "brink of war" comment, Workers' Party Secretary Kim Ki Nam said in comments broadcasts on state TV Friday that Pyongyang's rivals are "jealous" of the North's successful hydrogen bomb test. Many outside governments and experts question whether the blast was a powerful hydrogen test.

South Korean troops, near about 10 sites where loudspeakers started blaring propaganda Friday, were on the highest alert, but have not detected any unusual movement from North Korea along the border, an official from Seoul's Defence Ministry, who refused to be named, citing office rules, said.

The South's Yonhap news agency said Seoul had deployed missiles, artillery and other weapons systems near the border to swiftly deal with any possible North Korean provocation. The ministry did not confirm the report.

Officials say broadcasts from the South's loudspeakers can travel about 10 kilometres (6 miles) during the night and 24 kilometres (15 miles) at night. That reaches many of the huge force of North Korean soldiers stationed near the border and also residents in border towns such as Kaesong, where the Koreas jointly operate an industrial park that has been a valuable cash source for the impoverished North.

Seoul also planned to use mobile speakers to broadcast from a small South Korean island just a few kilometres (miles) from North Korean shores.

While the South's broadcasts also include news and pop music, much of the programming challenges North Korea's government more directly.

'We hope that our fellow Koreans in the North will be able to live in (a) society that doesn't invade individual lives as soon as possible," a female presenter said in parts of the broadcast that officials revealed to South Korean media. "Countries run by dictatorships even try to control human instincts."

Marathon talks by the Koreas in August eased anger and stopped the broadcasts, which Seoul started after blaming North Korean land mines for maiming two soldiers. It might be more difficult to do so now. Seoul can't stand down easily, some analysts say, and it's highly unlikely that the North will express regret for its nuclear test, which is a source of intense national pride.

Responding to the bomb test, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China, the North's only major ally and biggest aid provider, to end "business as usual" with North Korea.

Diplomats at a U.N. Security Council emergency session pledged to swiftly pursue new sanctions. For current sanctions and any new penalties to work, better co-operation and stronger implementation from China is seen as key.

South Korean and U.S. militaries also discussed the deployment of U.S. "strategic assets," Seoul's Defence Ministry said. Officials refused to elaborate, but the assets will likely include B-52 bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and nuclear-powered submarines.

After North Korea's third nuclear test in 2013, the U.S. took the unusual step of sending its most powerful warplanes to drills with South Korea in a show of force. B-2 and B-52 bombers are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

It may take weeks or longer to confirm or refute the North's claim that it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, which would mark a major and unanticipated advance for its still-limited nuclear arsenal. Outside experts are skeptical the blast was a hydrogen bomb, but even a test of an atomic bomb would push North Korea closer to building a nuclear warhead small enough to place on a long-range missile.

The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety said a small amount of radioactive elements was found in air samples collected from the peninsula's eastern seas after the blast, but the measured amount was too small to determine whether the North had really detonated a nuclear device. The institute will continue to collect and analyze more samples.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'You are not a leader': RCMP corporal denounces Paulson's Moncton testimony

    Canada News CTV News
    An RCMP corporal who was a friend of three murdered Mounties is publicly condemning the commissioner's testimony last week as a clear failure of leadership. Commissioner Bob Paulson told the RCMP's Labour Code trial in the 2014 Moncton shootings that management had concerns over the possible militarization of the force as it prepared to arm officers with high-powered carbine rifles. Source
  • Who is Amor Ftouhi, Canadian accused in U.S. airport stabbing?

    Canada News CTV News
    Neighbours say the Canadian arrested for an attack at a Michigan airport is a friendly, quiet man who lives in a modest apartment in Montreal. Amor Ftouhi, 49, of Montreal, was arrested Wednesday at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Mich. Source
  • Sears Canada plans restructuring, files for creditor protection

    Canada News CBC News
    Shares in Sears Canada were halted Thursday morning after the retailer said it is seeking court protection from its creditors while it restructures. The company has asked the Ontario Superior Court for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act — the law that covers insolvency proceedings. Source
  • 'I don't want you to get shooted': Child pleads to mother after Castile shooting

    World News CBC News
    In the moments after a Minnesota police officer fatally shot Philando Castile, his handcuffed girlfriend began screaming in the back of a patrol car as her four-year-old daughter begged her to stop. Squad car video from the July 2016 shooting shows Diamond Reynolds and her daughter in the cruiser, the Star Tribune reported Wednesday. Source
  • Bill Cosby trial: 2 holdouts refused to convict, says juror

    World News CBC News
    After 52 hours of tense deliberations, two holdouts in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial refused to convict the 79-year-old comedian, a juror told ABC News. The juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 10 of the 12 jurors agreed that Cosby was guilty on the first and third felony counts. Source
  • Doctors say racist rants not isolated incidents

    Canada News CTV News
    The incident this week of a mother in Mississauga, Ont. demanding that her son be examined by a “white doctor” is not an isolated incident, say several physicians, who want to see the policies about how to treat such patients made clearer. Source
  • Doctors say racist rants from patients not isolated incidents

    Canada News CTV News
    The incident this week of a mother in Mississauga, Ont. demanding that her son be examined by a “white doctor” is not an isolated incident, say several physicians, who want to see the policies about how to treat such patients made clearer. Source
  • Church of England apologizes, admits it 'colluded' with bishop to hide sexual abuse

    World News CBC News
    The Church of England "colluded" with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one of its former bishops, the head of the church said Thursday. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologized to the victims who spoke out and helped bring ex-bishop Peter Ball to justice as the church published a detailed report into how it handled the case. Source
  • 600 buildings in England also have 'combustible' cladding

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — Some 600 buildings in England could have been fitted with flammable external panels like the ones believed to have contributed to a fire that killed at least 79 people in a west London apartment building, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Downing Street office said. Source
  • London man died after mosque attack from 'multiple injuries'

    World News CBC News
    London police say 51-year-old man found dead after mosque attack last week died of "multiple injuries." The Metropolitan Police statement on Thursday is important because it had not been certain whether Makram Ali died of illness or as a result of the actions of a 47-year-old man who plowed a large van into a crowd of worshippers spilling out of two London mosques following Ramadan prayers. Source