Washington, March 12: The US has slammed North Korea for the latter's declaration that the 1953 armistice with South Korea has been nullified, terming it as a "bellicose rhetoric". It also warned Pyongyang not to go ahead with its threat of a nuclear attack or else it would face the full range of the American capabilities.
US President Barack Obama's top national advisor Tom Donilon on Monday called on China to further isolate Pyongyang. The North Korean leadership declared the 1953 armistice as void after the US and South Korea started a joint military exercise.
The declaration also came as a response to the UN Security Council's imposition of additional sanctions against North Korea after the latter conducted its third atomic test last month.
Donilon said Pyongyang's claims might sound exaggerated but the US would draw t its full range of capabilities to guard against the threat posed to it and its allies. He said not only the use of weapons of mass destruction but also transfer of nuclear weapons or materials to other states or non-state actors would be considered a big threat by the US and its allies and North Korea would be held responsible for the outcome.
State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, however, was reluctant to attach much significance of North Korea's act of annulling the truce. She said Pyongyang had made such claims thrice in recent years.
The North Korean authorities said that the joint military exercises between the USA and South Korea on Monday had forced them to annul the truce. The country's state media said that the USA had reduced the armistice agreement to a dead paper. Pyongyang also cut off the hotline with South Korea at the border village of Panmunjim. It has done so at least five times since the 1990s.
The US state department said such exercises take place every year and US sources said the real reason for North Korea's aggressive stand is the latest UN sanctions. The US treasury imposed additional measures against the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea for financing Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.
Donilon said neither would Washington accept North Korea as a nuclear state nor would feel deterred by Pyongyang's threat. He also said that Washington would pressurise North Korea to reciprocate on negotiations and not allow the latter to fool it again by betraying the promise after receiving material aid.