North Korea cuts hotline as tensions grow

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North Korea yesterday cut off a key military hotline with South Korea increasing already high tension and possibly jeopardising the last major symbol of co-operation between them.

North Korea recently cut a Red Cross hotline with South Korean and another with the US-led UN command at the border, but another line still links aviation authorities in the North and South.

The latest line to be cut is important because hundreds of workers travel across the border to and from the Kaesong industrial complex in the North.

South Korea said more than 900 of its workers were in Kaesong and it did not know how cutting the link would affect their travel back to South Korea.

North Korea, angry over routine US-South Korean drills and recent UN sanctions punishing it for a nuclear test, has recently unleashed a torrent of threats, including vows to launch a nuclear strike against the United States. It has also repeated its nearly two-decade-old threat to reduce Seoul to a “sea of fire.”