North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered his frontline troops onto a war-footing, as tensions with the South soared after a rare exchange of artillery fire.
Won, the vice head of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party, has not been seen since he greeted Rep. Park Jie-won of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy in Kaesong last December to accept a wreath before the third anniversary of the death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. While North Korea risks defeat in any conflict with South Korea, its threats have raised concerns misjudgment between the two sides could trigger a clash. It launched a 3G cellular network in 2009 that has gone on to attract around 2.5 million subscriptions – about 10 percent of North Korea’s population.
North Korean Central Televsion said: ‘Commanders of the Korean People’s Army were hastily dispatched to the front-line troops to command military operations to destroy psychological warfare tools if the enemy does not stop the propaganda broadcast within 48 hours and prepare against the enemy’s possible counteractions’.
The North Korea military said that the families may have South Korean accomplices on the other side of the border and that they already may be en route to South Korea.
Seoul said the mines were placed by North Korea and responded by resuming high-decibel propaganda broadcasts across the border, using loudspeakers that had lain silent for more than a decade. However, such technology doesn’t exist in North Korea, so that made building private networks the best available option.
The CMC meeting in Pyongyang insisted that the situation would only de-escalate if South Korea turned off the propaganda loudspeakers.
On Thursday, North Korea fired shells at a South Korean military base across the demilitarized zone. Kim has conducted a series of purges, including the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek in 2013, to consolidate his grip on power since taking power three and a half years ago.