The exchange of bellicose language between the two Koreas has recently intensified, recalling the level of tension after the North Korean artillery barrage in 2010, which left four South Koreans dead. After the United Nations imposed the new sanctions as a penalty for the North’s third nuclear test, on Feb. 12, the North said that it would nullify the armistice and that it was being threatened with a pre-emptive nuclear strike that it might itself pre-empt with nuclear strikes on Washington and Seoul. South Korea responded that in the case of such attacks, the North Korean government would be “erased from the Earth.”
On Monday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said that the armistice had been nullified. The North followed through on another threat as well, cutting off a Red Cross hot line that the two Koreas used to discuss humanitarian issues.