Seoul | North Korea responded to South Korean unilateral sanctions today by firing short-range ballistic missiles into the sea in a show of defiance and vowing to liquidate all remaining South Korean assets at former cooperative projects in the North. The moves are the latest in an escalating standoff between the Koreas that began in January when North Korea detonated what it said was an H-bomb of justice, its fourth nuclear test.
Since then, Pyongyang has launched a long-range rocket ; Seoul has shut down the last remaining cooperative project between the rivals, a jointly run factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, and slapped sanctions on the North over its recent nuclear test and rocket launch; the UN has imposed sanctions; and the North has threatened nuclear strikes on Seoul and the US mainland.
The missile firing Thursday comes a day after the North released photos of leader Kim Jong Un standing beside what appears to be a nuclear warhead mock-up. The North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Thursday that Pyongyang will liquidate South Korean assets at the closed Kaesong factory park and the scrapped tourism resort at Diamond Mountain, both of which are in North Korea.
In a continuation of bellicose rhetoric that has spiked in recent weeks, the statement said North Korea will also take a series of unspecified steps to impose lethal military, political and economic blows on the South Korean government to accelerate its pitiable demise. North Korea didn’t say what exactly it will do with the South Korean assets. But North Korea observers said the country could move the remaining manufacturing equipment at Kaesong to other industrial areas or convert them for military use while using South Korean-owned facilities at Diamond Mountain for its own tourism project.
At Kaesong, the South Korean assets include some buildings, manufacturing equipment and finished products. In the mountain resort, South Korean assets are a hotel, a spa, a golf course and a building used for on-and-off reunions of Korean families separated by war. The North Korean statement called South Korea’s unilateral sanctions laughable, unsightly behavior, and referred to South Korea’s female president, Park Geun-hye, as an American prostitute, the latest in a series of crude sexist attacks on her.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.