S. Korea joins PSI, North irate

May 27, 2009 at 2:07 AM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, May 27 (UPI) -- North Korea said Wednesday South Korea's decision to fully participate in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative is a "declaration of war" against it.

The reaction comes in the wake of the North's claims this week of a second nuclear test and subsequent short-range missile firings.

The North's permanent military mission to the North-South joint security area said in a statement, carried by the Korean Central News Agency, it no longer is bound to the Korean War armistice and will militarily respond to any foreign attempt to inspect its ships, Yonhap news agency reported.

Calling South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's government a "group of traitors," the statement said "our revolutionary forces will consider (the PSI participation) … as a declaration of war against us."

The armistice refers to the agreement which ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The PSI decision, coming in the wake of the North's latest aggressive posture, is part of South Korea's effort to upgrade its participation in the U.S., led international campaign to disrupt the traffic of weapons of mass destruction, Voice of America reported. In the past, Seoul had refrained from taking such steps in order not to upset the North.

The PSI initiative requires dozens of nations involved in it to share intelligence and coordinate naval operations to deter transportation of nuclear and other illegal arms, the VOA said.

In the United States, the White House said President Barack Obama welcomed South Korea's decision.

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