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N. Korea says naval skirmish demonstrates need for peace treaty with U.S.

All Headlines 11:56 November 23, 2009

By Tony Chang

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea urged the United States on Monday to replace their armistice agreement with a peace treaty, citing a recent skirmish between the two Koreas' navies as "proof" that such a treaty is necessary for peace on the peninsula.

The two Koreas technically remain at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War -- in which the U.S.-led United Nations forces fought for the South -- ended without a formal peace treaty.

"In order to secure permanent peace and stability and end confrontation and clashes on the Korean Peninsula, the armistice between North Korea and the U.S. should be ended and a peace regime implemented," the Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary.

"The recent armed clash highlights the pressing need (for a peace treaty)," the paper said, referring to the inter-Korean naval skirmish in the Yellow Sea on Nov. 10.

The two-minute confrontation occurred after a North Korean patrol crossed Korea's maritime border despite repeated warnings from the South. South Korea did not suffer casualties, but a North Korean patrol boat fled in flames, according to Seoul officials.

North Korea argues its patrol boat was on routine duty and that the South deliberately initiated the skirmish to stoke tension in the region.

North Korea has never recognized the Northern Limit Line, the maritime border unilaterally drawn by the U.N. Command at the end of the Korean War.

"The U.S. should soon decide on establishing a new peace treaty that will eradicate the threat of war and secure peace in the Korean Peninsula," the paper said, calling the armistice "outdated and defunct."


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