SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has threatened to cancel the truce that ended the Korean War if South Korea continues its joint military exercises with the United States.
The North Korean army's supreme command announced today that the 60-year-old cease-fire would be revoked on March 11, the day that South Korea and the United States are due to begin their annual 'Key Resolve' drills.
North Korea's military accused the two allies of "hostile policies" and said it would respond with "more and stronger countermeasures," according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Pyongyang says it will also recall its delegates from Panmunjom, the border village where the 1953 armistice was signed and where the North and South's negotiators still meet for talks, on the same day.
GlobalPost Senior Correspondent in Seoul, Geoffrey Cain, said the statement was likely aimed at the United States and China.
"South Korea was ironically not a signatory to the cease-fire, falling back on the agreement of the United Nations and the nations that fought under the UN flag," he said. "North Korea's threat was probably intended for the signatories — the United States and China, to name a few — who are leading the charge to ratchet up sanctions."
"We'll probably see more North Korean nuclear bluster in the future, even if it's just showy rhetoric," Cain said.
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The UN Security Council is preparing to discuss increasing sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear test last month.
Diplomats told Reuters that the United States had reached a "tentative" deal with China on a draft resolution that would ramp up existing penalties. Russia has also signaled that it will back the move.
Council members are due to meet in New York today to discuss the issue.
Cain said it appeared that the United States and China have agreed on a tentative deal to expand the sanctions.
"China, under new leader Xi Jinping, has shown willingness in the past month to distance itself from North Korea," he said. "The two countries were always uneasy bedfellows, but this is a sharp change from what we have seen in the past, when China was the one holding off on doing anything that could anger its neighbor."