S Korean officials play down DPRK's threat to cut off military hotline (2)

16:27, May 31, 2011      

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The latest threat by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to cut off a military hotline with South Korea fits the usual pattern of its strategy alternating between a peace offensive and threats, officials here said Tuesday.

The DPRK's National Defense Commission, chaired by leader Kim Jong-il, threatened Monday to abandon a military communications link and said the DPRK "will never deal with traitor Lee Myung- Bak and his clan," referring to the South Korean president.

It also threatened "physical action without any notice" against Seoul's perceived attempts at anti-Pyongyang "psychological warfare."

Seoul is not planning to officially respond to Monday's statement and sees the latest move by Pyongyang as part of its double-edged strategy calling for dialogue at one moment and issuing threats at another, Lee Jong-joo, spokeswoman for Seoul's unification ministry, told Xinhua.

The latest verbal threat will have no impact on South Korea's policy toward its northern neighbor, the spokeswoman added. The unification ministry oversees inter-Korean relations, which has been at their lowest ebb amid tense cross-border confrontation.

The military communications hotline on the east coast has not been in use since the end of last year, and Pyongyang's move to cut the link will not make much difference in inter-Korean relations, an official at the defense ministry in Seoul told Xinhua.

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Source: Xinhua
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