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May 29, 2009

North and South Korea on verge of open war

POLITICS - North Korea test-fired another short-range missile today, the sixth in the last week and warned it would act in "self-defence" if provoked. The recent nuclear test on Monday by North Korea suggests Koreans (both North and South) should be worried about impending invasions.

Today's missile tested has a range of approx. 260 km, which would give it enough range to reach most of South Korea's cities, but not Pusan, a military headquarters. However North Korea test fired a long range missile in April, one capable of reaching Hawaii.

Chinese and Japanese fishing boats have left the region and South Korean and American forces are now on high alert. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the situation is not yet a crisis and no additional U.S. troops would be sent to the region, but he didn't rule out the possibility.

North Korea accused the United Nations Security Council of hypocrisy is a released statement. "There is a limit to our patience," the statement said. "The nuclear test conducted in our nation this time is the Earth's 2,054th nuclear test. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council have conducted 99.99 per cent of the total nuclear tests."

North Korea insists it will only act in defense. Fears of a skirmish could set off an escalation towards war.

The North has renounced the truce that has kept peace between the two Koreas since the Korean War ended in 1953. The waters off the west coast were the site of two deadly skirmishes in 1999 and 2002.

"For now, it seems quiet," said South Korean construction worker Lee Hae-un, 43. "But if North Korea provokes us with military power, I think our government should actively and firmly counteract it."

The United States has 28,000 American troops stationed in South Korea.

North Korea meanwhile has 1.2-million troops and is one of the world's largest. A war with North Korea may require the United States to draft additional troops and would destabilize global politics, as Iran and other countries may decide to take advantage of the situation.

The two Koreas technically remain at war because they signed a truce in 1953, not a peace treaty.

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