Swine Flu Outbreak Map

31 January 2009

Choe Sang-Jun, New York Times

South Korea bolstered its military readiness and scrambled to figure out North Korea’s intentions on Friday, after the North declared that it was scrapping the agreements both countries had signed to ease military and political tensions on the divided peninsula.

North Korea’s decision followed a recent series of sharp comments and aggressive gestures that officials and analysts in Seoul said were aimed at gaining the attention of the new American administration and concessions from President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea.

“Relations between the North and South have worsened to the point where there is no way or hope of correcting them,” said a statement on Friday from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the North Korean agency in charge of relations with the South. A South Korean Navy destroyer has sailed into waters near the disputed western sea border with North Korea - the scene of naval skirmishes in 1999 and 2002 - to bolster defenses there, the national South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Friday, without citing sources.

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