North Korea has violated the armistice with South Korea 221 times, a recent report by the Defense Ministry said, as tensions continue to run high following two deadly attacks by Pyongyang last year.
Since the two Koreas temporarily ended their three-year war with a truce in July 1953, North Korea has repeatedly violated the pact and conducted an actual military attack up to 26 times, according to a ministry report released by a ruling party legislator earlier this month.
The reclusive state did not halt provocations even as the two Koreas were making peace from 1990 through 2000 under the two liberal governments in Seoul, staging some 20 provocations, the report said.
North Korea’s torpedoing of the corvette Cheonan and artillery shelling of Yeonpyeong Island were the latest in a series of its provocations against South Korea since the endof the Korean War. (Korea Herald file photos)
From 2000 through last year, North Korea conducted five military attacks that included the apparent torpedoing of the South Korean warship Cheonan and the artillery shelling on border island Yeonpyeong.
The South Korean military has been maintaining high alert for further provocations by Pyongyang following the two deadly attacks last year that cost the lives of dozens of people including two civilians.
North Korea’s November bombing of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, in particular, had ratcheted up tensions to the highest level in decades as the communist state’s first direct attack against civilians since the 1950-53 Korean War.
Military provocations peaked in the 1990s with North Korea attempting several times to invade the South Korean islands near the western sea border, according to the report.
From the 1950s through the 1980s, Pyongyang not only attacked Navy corvettes and military jets, but also attempted to send assassinators to Seoul’s presidential office, and kidnapped and bombed South Korean airliners.
“The pattern of North Korea’s provocations show that the country is turning more violent and merciless,” Rep. Song Young-sun of the Grand National Party said in a press release after making public the report.
“Our military must be fully prepared as North Korea is likely to continue staging various forms of provocations against South Korea as it goes through power transfer and targets to become a prosperous country in 2012,” Song, member of the parliamentary defense committee, added.
By Shin Hae-in (firstname.lastname@example.org)