Last updated at 12:29 BST, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

North Korea abandons ceasefire

Summary

27 May 2009

North Korea has said that it is abandoning the truce that ended the Korean War and that there is a growing risk of military conflict. The warning comes two days after it conducted an underground nuclear test.

Reporter:
John Sudworth in Seoul

Pyongyang

Pyongyang

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Report

The statement from North Korea's military warns that it no longer considers itself bound by the terms of the 1953 ceasefire. The immediate cause, it says, is South Korea's decision earlier this week, to join a US-led initiative to track and search ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.

But the angry rhetoric fits the increasingly hard line being taken by Pyongyang. Two days ago, it conducted a powerful underground nuclear test, and last month, it launched a long-range rocket over Japanese airspace, both acts in defiance of widespread international condemnation.

Meanwhile, South Korean news reports say that steam has been seen coming from a plant at the North's main nuclear facility, a sign that it has made good on its threat to restart efforts to make weapons-grade plutonium.

John Sudworth, BBC News, Seoul

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Vocabulary

considers itself bound by the terms of
recognises the validity of, acts in accordance with
rhetoric
something that is said or written with the aim of being persuasive and effective
increasingly hard line
becoming more and more inflexible and uncompromising
in defiance of
showing refusal to listen to/take into account
condemnation
saying that something (here, North Korea's behaviour) is bad
facility
a place, especially including buildings, where a particular activity happens
to track
to find and/or follow
made good on
acted on/realised/carried out (something that has been intended or promised)
weapons-grade plutonium
plutonium that is rich enough to be used in nuclear weapons
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