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Military hotline remains open

March 13, 2013 at 2:18 AM

SEOUL, March 13 (UPI) -- North Korea may have severed a border telephone line with South Korea but a military hotline between them is operating, a Seoul official said Wednesday.

"Currently, the military communication [line] is operating normally, though North Korea" snapped the Red Cross telephone line at the border village of Panmunjom earlier this week, said Kim Haing, a South Korean presidential spokeswoman.

"If necessary, we plan to send a message to North Korea via this [line]," Yonhap News quoted the spokeswoman as saying.

North Korea, incensed over the tightening of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council for its Feb. 12 nuclear test and its earlier long-range missile test, has been issuing highly provocative threats. It cut the Red Cross telephone line over the joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. The Communist country also has unilaterally scrapped the 1953 Korean Armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.

In its latest threat, the North's Ministry of the People's Armed Forces said all that now remains is for them to retaliate against aggressors.

"Warmongers would be well advised to keep in mind that the DPRK [(Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is the North's official name] is no longer restrained," the KCN report said quoting the military, adding that is left to be done is to push forth "an action of justice and merciless retaliation of the army and people of the DPRK."

The ministry said it has chosen the United States and South Korean military warmongers as targets. In its earlier threat, the North threatened to turn South Korea and the United States into a "sea of fire," suggesting the use of nuclear weapons.

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