Maybe we should send Dennis Rodman back.
North Korea threatened on Tuesday to scrap an armistice that ended the 1950-53 civil war and sever a military "hotline" with the United States if South Korea and Washington pressed on with two-month-long war games.
It was a notable sharpening in the North's often bellicose rhetoric and followed word from U.N. diplomats that the United States and China had struck a tentative deal on a draft U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution that would punish North Korea for its third nuclear test, which it conducted last month.
"We will completely nullify the Korean armistice," the North's KCNA news agency said, quoting the Korean People's Army (KPA) Supreme Command spokesman.
"The war exercise being done by the United States and the puppet south Korea is a systematic act of destruction aimed at the Korean armistice."
The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.
"We will be suspending the activities of the KPA representative office at Panmunjom (truce village) that had been tentatively operated by our army as the negotiating body to establish a peace regime on the Korean peninsula," KCNA quoted the spokesman as saying.
"Related to that, we will be making the decision in parallel to cut off the Panmunjom DPRK-U.S. military hotline."
North Korea, officially called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has made much of hotlines with the South and the United States over the years, but has not been known ever to have used them in times of increased tension.
The problem with deciphering North Korean belligerence is that you're never sure if it's just the usual bluster or whether they are serious. Of course, it won't affect the joint exercises, but it's good to recall that the border between North and South Korea is among the most militarized in the world. Seoul is within range of North Korea's artillery with some experts saying they could virtually level the city in a couple of hours.
Any threat like this has to be taken seriously given the consequences of simply dismissing it.