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

  • Watch buses, trucks and a police car collide in snowy Montreal

    Canada News CTV News
    A hill in downtown Montreal was transformed into a veritable slip and slide Monday morning after a light dusting of snow blanketed the city. In a video posted to Facebook by Montreal-based designer Willem Shepherd, city buses, cars, trucks and even a police cruiser skid into each other in a series of slow-motion slides down the city’s steep Côte du Beaver Hall road. Source
  • TSO records national anthem in 12 most commonly spoken languages nationwide

    Canada News CTV News
    To celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra recorded the national anthem in the 12 most commonly spoken languages nationwide, using data from Statistics Canada. The Canadian anthem was performed in Arabic, American Sign Language, Cree, English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, and Tamil. Source
  • Tamara Lovett didn't realize how sick Ryan was: Lawyer

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The defence is arguing its case today at the trial of a woman who treated her son with dandelion tea and oil of oregano before he died of a strep infection. Tamara Lovett's trial is entering its second week in a Calgary courtroom. Source
  • ‘I will cut your throat’; Man allegedly threatened Muslim cop, son

    World News Toronto Sun
    A 36-year-old New York man was arrested after allegedly threatening to slice the throat of an off-duty female Muslim cop. The suspect, Christopher Nelson, was arrested during the weekend on charges of menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment in Brooklyn after allegedly verbally attacking NYPD officer Aml Elsokary, who wears a hijab. Source
  • Nova Scotia schools to reopen Tuesday after pact reached with teachers union over student safety

    Canada News CBC News
    Education Minister Karen Casey says Nova Scotia schools will reopen Tuesday following a one-day shutdown, after an agreement over student safety during a planned work-to-rule campaign was reached with the teachers union. Casey said a consensus was reached with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU) on parts of a work-to-rule job action that she feared would endanger students. Source
  • Pulse owner decides not to sell club to city of Orlando

    World News Toronto Sun
    ORLANDO, Fla. — The owner of the Florida nightclub where the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history took place said Monday that she is no longer interested in selling the property to the city of Orlando. Source
  • Christmas trees selling for US$1,000 in NYC; ‘To find a good one is difficult’

    World News Toronto Sun
    Celebrating Christmas ain’t cheap in the Big Apple. According to the New York Post, Christmas trees are selling for upwards of US$1,000 in the tony Manhattan neighbourhood of Greenwich Village. The 13-foot white firs are selling for an incredible $77 per foot, said Greenwich Village tree seller Heather Neville. Source
  • Trump not saying how he'll view Dakota Access pipeline

    World News CBC News
    U.S. president-elect Donald Trump isn't saying what he'll do about the $3.8 billion US, four-state Dakota Access oil pipeline once he takes office in January. Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Monday that the incoming president supports construction of the pipeline. Source
  • Man fights off kangaroo that put his dog in a headlock

    World News Toronto Sun
    How do you react when a wild kangaroo gets your beloved pooch in a nasty headlock? Throw your best right cross, naturally. No, that isn’t a poor attempt at a joke. It was zookeeper Greig Tonkins’ actual reaction when his dog, Max, got into a scuffle with the deadly ‘roo. Source
  • UN finds 41 more peacekeepers involved in sexual abuse in Central African Republic

    World News CBC News
    A UN investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic has identified 41 of the alleged perpetrators. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that the four-month-long investigation identified 25 peacekeepers from Burundi and 16 from Gabon as suspects in connection with the incidents that allegedly occurred between 2014 and 2015. Source