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May 25th, 2010

Korea tensions North Korea severs all ties with South

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: Tensions continue to rise on the Korean peninsula in the escalating crisis over a suspected torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March.

  • North Korea has announced that it will cut all ties with the South; communications will cease, a joint North-South industrial project will end, and all South Korean ships and aircraft are to be prevented from entering Northern territorial waters; South has announced ban on North Korean cargo ships entering its waters.
  • Move follows last week’s findings of international enquiry which blamed North Korea for attack on the warship Cheonan, which was destroyed on 26 March while sailing close to the disputed inter-Korean maritime border.
  • South Korea is to refer the incident to the UN Security Council, and hold joint military wargames with the US; South has also announced it will resume propaganda broadcasts and psychological warfare operations against the North, after a six year hiatus.
  • North Korean armed forces reported to be mobilizing.
  • Major setback for Korean relations; global markets plunge on fears of conflict.

Analysts available for comment:

JAE HO CHUNG is associate professor at Seoul National University’s Department of International Relations. A specialist in Chinese politics and Sino-Korean relations, he is Founding Coordinator of the Korean Association of Chinese Political Studies (KACPS).
Location: Seoul, South Korea

KATY OH is a researcher at the Institute for Defense Analyses and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. She is an expert on North Korean politics and economy, South Korean politics and economy, Inter-Korean relations and U.S. foreign and security policy toward East Asia. Dr. Oh has presented briefings to the US Departments of State, Defense, and Energy.
Location: Washington, D.C., USA

HAZEL SMITH is Professor of Resilience and Security at Cranfield University, UK. She is a respected international media commentator on issues related to the DPRK and East Asian security. She regularly comments for the BBC, CNN, Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia.
Location: Cranfield, UK

MARCUS NOLAND is senior fellow and deputy director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C. He is a specialist on the political economy of Korea, and is unique among American economists in having devoted serious scholarly effort to the problems of North Korea and the prospects for Korean unification. He won the 2001 Ohira Masayoshi Award for his book Avoiding the Apocalypse: The Future of the Two Koreas.
Location: Washington, D.C., USA

LEON SIGAL is director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the US Social Science Research Council in New York. His book, Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, was named the 1998 book of distinction by the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Location: New York, USA

DAVID KANG is Associate Professor of Government and Research Director at the Center for International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He is the co-author of Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (Columbia, 2003). He frequently comments for the media on Korea issues, and writes a monthly column for the Oriental Morning News (Shanghai).
Location: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA

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