North Korea Threatens to Sever Ties With South

Calls South Korean government 'traitors'
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2008 2:18 AM CDT
South Korean protesters burn defaced portraits of North Korean Leader Kim Jon Il during a protest rally.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
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(Newser) – North Korea is threatening to sever ties with South Korea in a war of words that has plunged relations between the partitioned neighbors to a new low, Reuters reports. North Korean officials are upset about hardline policies of South Korea's conservative government.  "If the traitors keep to the road of reckless confrontation with North Korea, defaming its dignity," officials will consider a "total freeze of relations," declared the state's Communist newspaper.

The threat echoes a similar warning last spring before North Korea cut off dialogue with its neighbor. The warning comes just days after officials pledged to resume dismantling the nation's nuclear program in response to being removed from the US terrorism blacklist.  The destitute North relies on its neighbor for aid. But with a warming of relations with the West, North Korean officials may be hoping for increased international aid and business.