North Korea is upping the belligerence factor, a day after the UN voted to impose sanctions on the rogue state. State TV announced that all non-aggression pacts with the south were effectively over, and the DPRK was closing the main border crossing it shares with its neighbor, as well as the 41-year-old North-South hotline. There was, apparently, “nothing to talk to the puppet group of traitors about.”
While the news was met with some resignation by the West–a spokesperson for the State Department, which two months ago professed itself unhappy with Eric Schmidt’s visit to North Korea, said that the U.S. was “fully capable of defending [itself]… This kind of extreme rhetoric has not been unusual for this regime.” China, normally Pyongyang’s closest ally, had a large hand in drawing up the current set of UN sanctions, and is encouraging restraint and dialog between North and South.
The country’s news channel also showed footage–see it below–of Kim Jong Un greeting troops, claiming he had urged them to be ready to “annihilate the enemy” at any time. Any hope that the leader, who succeeded his father Kim Jong Il in December 2011, might have forged a peace deal between the two territories is long gone. The nuclear tests, the rocket launches, and the increase of the concentration camp system all add up to a gloomy outlook on the Korean Peninsula. If you want to know which territories are in range from Pyongyang’s various missiles, there’s a handy graphic here.