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North Korea Severs Ties With South on Ship Sinking (Update3)
By Bomi Lim and Nicole Gaouette
May 26 (Bloomberg)
“There is no need to show any mercy or patience for such confrontation maniacs,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported late yesterday. North Korea will “abrogate the agreement on non-aggression” and handle all issues with South Korea under wartime law.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told the military to be combat-ready in a message that coincided with the announcement, a Seoul-based dissident group reported, prompting the Korean won to weaken 3 percent against the dollar and the Kospi stock index to fall to the lowest in more than three months yesterday.
Kim’s military order was broadcast on May 20 by O Kuk Ryol, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, according to the website of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a group run by defectors from the communist country.
“For Kim Jong Il to be giving such an order is pretty serious,” said Kim Yong Hyun, professor of North Korean studies at Seoul-based Dongguk University, adding that he doubted that such a direct order was given.
While Kim doesn’t want war, North Korea is ready to counter any attacks, O said in the message, according to the dissident group, which cited an unidentified person in the country. The organization was among the first in South Korea to report on North Korea’s botched currency revaluation late last year.