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(EDITORIAL from the Korea Herald on March 30)
Walking a tightrope

It is not easy to guess what North Korea is thinking when it threatens nuclear war against the South while permitting an unimpeded border crossing by employees of South Korean corporations operating factories in the North. Nor is it easy to make sense of where South Korea stands when it says it is preparing to propose dialogue and family reunions to the North while threatening a counterattack on any North Korean hostility, be it conventional or nuclear.

North Korea has been ramping up its nuclear threats against South Korea and the United States since it conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12, making bellicose remarks without restraint. But its sanity is called into question when it says conditions are created for an "imminent nuclear war" and that its military action will include a "sovereignty-protecting preemptive nuclear attack."

   On hearing the highly provocative and normally unimaginable remarks, China says, "We hope that relevant parties will exercise restraint so as to ease the tension." But shouldn't it have admonished the runaway communist state for its loose tongue as its sole military ally, before calling on all parties concerned to calm down?

   On Tuesday when a ceremony was held in South Korea to remember the victims of North Korea's 2010 torpedo attack on a South Koran corvette, Pyongyang said it was notifying the U.N. Security Council that U.S. and South Korean nuclear provocations had created the "conditions for an imminent nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula." It said it had put on the highest alert its missile and long-range artillery units targeting U.S. military bases on the mainland, Hawaii and Guam as well as military facilities in South Korea.