Despite steps made this week by both North and South Korea towards thawing relations, North Korea strongly condemned South Korea’s recent ballistic missile test in an old fashioned way: an angrily worded press release that implied doom for the president of its southern neighbor.
In response to the missile test, the Korean Central News Agency, the state-run news agency of North Korea, declared that President Park Geun-hye “revealed her true colors as an anti-north confrontation maniac” and that the “loudmouthed confrontation of social systems would only precipitate her doom.”
But the statements come just days after North and South Korean researchers began to work together on an unprecedented collaboration on the excavation of an historical site at Manwoldae. Historians from both nations began the research project at the UNESCO World Heritage site of the royal palace of the Goryeo Dynasty on Monday, and they’ll work together until November 30 of this year.
“This project aims at making the two Koreas’ historical awareness closer. It would not be a complete unification if both sides cannot share common awareness regarding same history,” Shin Joon-young, the secretary general at the Council of South and North Korean Historians, told NK News.
But while archaeologists, historians, and others involved with the excavation work crossed the border yesterday from South to North Korea, President Geun-hye was at the launch site on the west coast of South Korea to watch the missile, capable of reaching nearly all of North Korea, being test-launched.
Tensions were once again elevated last month after North Korea successfully test-fired a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), increasing U.S. fears of instability in the region.
A 2012 agreement with the United States let South Korea double the range of its ballistic missiles, allowing for South Korea to reach nearly all targets in North Korea—but stopping short of hitting targets in China or Japan.
“The test demonstrated improved ballistic missile capability that can strike all parts of North Korea swiftly, and with precision, in the event of armed aggression or provocation,” the presidential Blue House said in a statement.
Work on the inter-Korean Manwoldae project has been conducted since 2007, though tensions between the two nations have meant work has frequently been stopped. The current six-month project, if it is to continue to completion, will be one of the longest and largest inter-Korean projects in history.
North Korea has had a particularly angry week following revelations that the U.S. military sent live anthrax to bases on South Korea. In a statement, North Korea declared that, “The south Korean people cannot escape from the present misfortunes and sufferings and the Korean nation cannot be free from horrible disaster to be caused by nuclear and biochemical wars as long as the U.S. imperialist aggressors are present in south Korea and their servants Park Geun Hye group is allowed to stay there.”