North Korea declared in no uncertain terms that it would view any effort by South Korea or the U.S. to search or seize its vessels as an act of war. Both the U.S. and South Korea are member nations of the Proliferation Security Initiative, which calls for a blockade of nations suspected of dealing illegally in nuclear materials. North Korea also said that it is no longer obligated by the terms of the armistice with South Korea that ended the Korean War. A South Korean newspaper reported that Pyongyang has begun developing weapons-grade plutonium, further escalating tensions.

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