North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered his troops onto a war footing after his government issued an ultimatum to Seoul to halt propaganda broadcasts across the border.
The wording of the statement from Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear is interesting: “We suspended part of the exercise temporarily in order to allow our side to coordinate with the ROK [Republic of Korea] side on the subject of the exchange fire across the DMZ”.
“If South Korea does not respond to our ultimatum”, North Korean United Nations ambassador An Myong Hun told reporters, “our military counteraction will be inevitable and that counteraction will be very strong”.
North Korea didn’t respond militarily to South Korea’s artillery barrage Thursday, but its army later warned in a message that it will take further military action within 48 hours if South Korea doesn’t pull down the loudspeakers, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
Specifically, this threat is tied to cross-border propaganda loudspeakers that South Korea resumed using last week for the first time in a decade. A month earlier, when South Korea staged similar drills, the North reacted with an artillery bombardment that killed four people on a South Korean border island. North Korea on Monday began its broadcasts.
Dressed in military uniform, the South Korean President Park Geun-Hye has addressed a group of senior army commanders to tell them that “no provocation by North Korea would be tolerated”.
Since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce rather than peace, Pyongyang and Seoul have often exchanged threats.
Measuring the true intention behind the belligerent rhetoric of the psychotic Communist state is always a tricky business; North Korea threatens all sorts of dire consequences and yells about war on a fairly regular basis. According to Korea’s KBS News, they can be heard from as far as 24 kilometers away (about 15 miles) at night and 10 kilometers away (about 6 miles) during the day, potentially reaching North Korean civilians who live near the DMZ and the soldiers stationed in the vicinity.
This week’s confrontation is one of most serious since Kim rose to power in 2011, sending South Korean stocks to a two-year low.
In response, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff urged the KPA to refrain from any “reckless acts”. As of Friday afternoon, the South gave no indication of being willing to comply with North Korea’s deadline. Neither aspect has reported accidents or injury. Pyongyang accused the South of inventing a pretext to fire into the North.
The train, which can run till August 28, is essentially a pc simulation of a North Korean assault, however nonetheless includes 50,000 Korean and 30,000 US troopers. The North denies initiating the fire and blamed the South of fabricating information. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that South Korea fired 36 rounds.
Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency said that Mr Kim would put his troops on a “fully armed state of war” from 5pm yesterday Seoul time and had declared a “quasi-state of war” in front-line areas.
But the latest tensions raise worries because South Korea has vowed to hit back with overwhelming strength should North Korea attack again as it did on Thursday. “In contrast, there have been frequent exchanges of artillery and rocket fire across the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto maritime border”.