Last week, North Korea threatened to cut all ties with South Korea, saying the new conservative government is a U.S. toady engaged in reckless confrontation with its neighbor.
The North's warning, issued in a commentary carried in the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper, said if the South "keeps to the road of reckless confrontation with the (North), defaming its dignity despite its repeated warnings, this will compel it to make a crucial decision including the total freeze of the North-South relations."
South Korea has played down the threat. Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyeon said, "There is no change in the government's intention to improve South-North relations through dialogue."
Basically, North Korea has been unhappy with South Korea's new President Lee Myung-bak, who took office in February with a pledge to get tough on the rival state. By contrast, Lee's two liberal predecessors had aggressively sought reconciliation by providing massive aid to the impoverished nation.