North Korea Announces ‘State of War’

Photo: Kim Kwang Hyon/Corbis

Though North and South Korea have technically been at war since the fifties, Pyongyang has issued a statement saying that the Korean Peninsula has entered a "state of war" and that "all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly." While the Saturday declaration (which followed a Friday announcement that North Korea had put its missiles on standby) threatened the United States and South Korea with "all-out nuclear war," officials from both of those countries did not seem particularly alarmed. The South's Unification Ministry responded by calling the comments "unhelpful" and pointed out that "North Korea's statement today ... is not a new threat but is the continuation of provocative threats." (Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry promised "full military readiness in order to protect our people's lives and security.") A spokeswoman for the National Security Council said that, while the U.S. takes North Korea's threats seriously, "We would also note that North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats and today's announcement follows that familiar pattern."