Threats and drills fuel fears of Korean clash
SEOUL (AFP) - The Korean peninsula will become a practice battlefield next week, with both North and South staging large-scale military drills as escalating tensions keep their armies on a hair trigger.
Sabre-rattling and displays of brinkmanship are nothing new in the region, but there are concerns that the current situation is so volatile that just one accidental step could escalate into serious confrontation and conflict.
The root of the tension lies in the North's third nuclear test last month and Pyongyang's rage at the punitive sanctions subsequently imposed by the UN Security Council on Thursday.
As well as threatening a "pre-emptive nuclear attack" on the United States and South Korea, Pyongyang said it would - effective Monday - rip up the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and scrap peace pacts signed with Seoul.