May 31, 2011 10:17
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in a statement Monday said Pyongyang will no longer engage with South Korea and shut down a military hotline on the eastern coast as well as a liaison office in the Mt. Kumgang tourism resort, according to the North's powerful National Defense Commission.
The belligerent message came a mere three days after Kim returned from a visit to China, which apparently ended in disappointment for the ailing leader, who had been hoping for massive handouts.
The commission also threatened "physical action without notice at any time against any place" where South Koreans engage in psychological warfare.
Observers say the statement shows the cash-strapped regime at its usual antics, alternating charm offensives with belligerence to extract aid and concessions. "The North is engaging in pressure tactics against our policies toward North Korea after bolstering ties with China following the latest visit," a government official said.
North Korea had been aggressively pushing for dialogue earlier this year after Seoul halted all trade with the North in April last year. Tentative military talks in February broke down, followed by the usual denunciations of the South Korean government by the North. But soon Pyongyang started to seek dialogue again.
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