North Korea created international alarm on Wednesday when it accused South Korea of declaring war, just two days after testing a nuclear bomb. North Korean officials said the country no longer sees itself as bound by the 1953 armistice deal that ended the Korean war.
Officials accused South Korea of sparking conflict by taking part in a program to limit weapons transport in the region. The United States-led program would involve stopping ships suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.
On Monday, North Korea tested three short-range ground-to-air missiles and a nuclear bomb. Russian officials who measured the effects of the underground blast said the bomb tested was large enough to destroy a major city.
The test sparked international outrage and threats of a strong response from the United Nations Security Council, including harsh economic sanctions. China, North Korea's strongest ally, joined in the worldwide condemnation and voted with the Security Council to term the nuclear test a violation of international law.
North Korea was not deterred, firing another two short-range ballistic missiles on Tuesday and one more on Wednesday.
North Korea renewed its nuclear program earlier this year after agreeing to end the program in 2008 in exchange for economic aid. In April, officials in Pyongyang said they would test a nuclear weapon.
Israel has expressed particular concern over North Korea's latest weapons tests in light of North Korean support for terrorist regimes in the Middle East.
A Syrian installation destroyed by Israeli in 2007 is believed to have been meant to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapons. The facility was built with technical assistance from North Korea, and it is believed that North Korea provided funding as well.
In an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in late 2008, Israel accused North Korea of “reckless practices” in the Middle East, including supplying at least half a dozen regimes with Korean weapons and technology.